“The King”, Burger King’s mascot, likes square butts and definitely showed it in Burger King’s most recent controversial commercial. The commercial features The King dancing to a play-off of Sir Mix-A-Lot’s “Baby Got Back.”
The commercial starts off with The King saying “I like square butts and I cannot lie.” Throughout the commercial women shake their rectangular shaped butts (even though the commercial refers to the shape as square), and The King walks around the video set just as Sir Mix-A-Lot did in the original video back in 1992. At the end of the commercial, Sir Mix-A-Lot says, “Booty is Booty,” and then you finally hear a 3 second blurb about the actual Burger King promotion. The commercial first aired during the 2009 Men’s Basketball NCAA Tournament, and has brought about much controversy since the original airing.
The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood has initiated a campaign to get Burger King to pull the commercial. Commercial-Free’s Director Dr. Susan Linn said, “It’s bad enough when companies use a beloved media character like SpongeBob to promote junk food to children, but it’s utterly reprehensible when that character simultaneously promotes objectified, sexualized images of women.”
Burger King has since released a statement addressing the commercial. "The 99-cent BK Kids Meal is a value-based offer aimed at adults and requires an adult BK Value Meal purchase. This value offering enables the entire family to enjoy an affordable quality meal. As with all Burger King adult advertising campaigns, the SpongeBob commercial featuring Sir Mix-A-Lot's famous song airs only during shows targeting adult audiences, and with the King and a popular '90s rapper as the headliners, is meant to appeal to the adults who take their families to Burger King restaurants for good food and entertainment. This commercial is intended to show that even adults can have fun, laugh and be silly with entertainment genres -- such as rap and pop culture icons -- that have become part of everyday life. We also developed a second, completely different SpongeBob advertising campaign for kids, which is currently airing on kid-targeted programming."
The one thing for certain is that Burger King is a little late with creating commercials that target the adult hip hop community. McDonald’s has produces several “hip hop commercials targeted for adults.” The two that come to mind are the “McNuggets R&B Song” and “Happy Meal Cha Cha Slide” commercials. The “McNuggets R&B Song” has an R&B singing about why his female friend should share her McNuggets with him. The “Happy Meal Cha Cha Slide” commercial has a kid dancing to the Cha Cha Slide in his house while coming to the dinner table to join his family.
However, the big difference between McDonald’s and Burger King’s “hip hop commercials targeted for adults” is that Mickey D’s has taken the safe road with creating family friendly commercials. On the other hand, BK called upon Sir Mix-A-Lot most notable hit song “Baby Got Back” to help advertise their latest promotion.
So the question for you is “Has Burger King Gone Too Far?’ You be the judge. Check out the Burger King Spongebob Square Butts commercial and post your comments. If the 30 second version didn’t convince to head over to BK and get a 99 cent Happy Meal with your Value Meal purchase, give the 2:23 extended version a chance!
- Alvin C. Hathaway Jr.