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What Do You Think of This Burger King Ad?

The Burger King SpongeBob ad features The King with a side of SpongeBob. It starts off with "I like square butts and I cannot lie." Woman shake their box-shaped bottoms and The King measures one. It ends with "get a toy and a kids meal."

The ad, which plays off Sir Mix-a-Lot's "Baby Got Back," isn't relegated to late-night music video blocks, like the original, though. Instead, it aired during the NCAA college basketball tournament.

Gawker contends the ad is teaching obesity and sexuality to kids. The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood has initiated a campaign to get Burger King to pull the ad.

“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,” said Commercial-Free's director Dr. Susan Linn.

Burger King declined to answer some of my specific questions about the ad, releasing only this statement:

"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."

Nickelodeon, meanwhile, issued a similar statement about the ad:

"The Burger King ad is intended to be an adult-targeted and humorous take on the SpongeBob character's iconic "square" pants set to a famous pop song from the '90s. It is running on adult-targeted networks. This year marks SpongeBob SquarePants' landmark 10th anniversary, and with a monthly adult viewership of 45 million people above the age of 18, the intention was to offer a funny and playful take on the character for that audience."

What do you think of the ad? Have your kids seen it?

By Stacey Garfinkle |  April 16, 2009; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Entertainment
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Comments


My kids haven't seen this commercial and this is the first time for me, and I don't know which channels it is running on. Unfortunately there are so many bad and inappropriate commercials out there that this one doesn't seem particularly offensive or disgusting.

Personally the Burger King "King" freaks me out, I don't understand why they have stuck with this creepy commercial series.

Posted by: cheekymonkey | April 16, 2009 8:07 AM | Report abuse

Please post a version of the ad that won't be blocked by the IT Nazis.

Posted by: jezebel3 | April 16, 2009 8:21 AM | Report abuse

It's fantastic!

Posted by: subwayguy | April 16, 2009 8:31 AM | Report abuse

agree with above, BK guy is really creepy.
Ad is weird. And to me, spongebob is hardly 'beloved.' It's a crude cartoon, and i don't let the kids watch it anymore (we blocked nickelodeon).
kind of icky ad...but i don't get most ads on tv. my kids haven't seen it cause we're phasing out commercial tv for now.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | April 16, 2009 8:38 AM | Report abuse

The ad is dull and unimaginative. The whole "King" series is - I've had enough of Deion Sanders or Ray Lewis morphing into the "King" and running an interception back for a touchdown, then doing some strange dance. Somebody considers this "art"? Makes me wish Ray would just smack the creative department over the head. :-)

Is the Spongebob ad offensive? No, not particularly, when compared to a lot of other ads.

I can't comment on kids' attitudes; mine are now 20, 18, 17 and 12, so except for the 12 year old this is pretty tame stuff. We did have lots of go-rounds with the kids about the original song back when part of it was included on the trailer of the Shrek DVD (donkey sang it about the dragon). But that's in the past.

Let's face it, the purpose of this ad was to get publicity for BKC, and it worked. Bain, Goldman Sachs, and TPG, which each own one-quarter of BKC (the rest is in public hands) are laughing all the way to the bank.

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | April 16, 2009 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Oh my gosh! I have actually had nightmares about that ubercreepy "king" - it was from the commercial where the guy wakes up and the king is in bed with him with some kind of heart attach inducing breakfast sandwich. Yikes!

As for this commercial? I saw it during the NCAA tourny. I laughed. It's more goofy than offensive, but I wouldn't want it to air during kids shows.

Posted by: VaLGaL | April 16, 2009 8:52 AM | Report abuse

um, "heart attack"

Posted by: VaLGaL | April 16, 2009 8:53 AM | Report abuse

I didn't realize that the IT guys killed 6 millions Jews.

Posted by: anonymous_one | April 16, 2009 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Ok, this cracked me up. But the marketing concept confuses me. Seems like it's targeted to the grownups like me who remember the original song; and yet, they're using a kids' character that drives me nuts -- the promise of even more SB drivel in this house seems a lot more likely to drive me away.

Posted by: laura33 | April 16, 2009 9:22 AM | Report abuse

This ad is so much fun that I actually look forward to it airing. It's the only commercial I wish would be played MORE often! Sir Mix-a-lot rocks and always will!

Posted by: baa0515 | April 16, 2009 9:26 AM | Report abuse

As long as they don't use the "Milkshake" song by Kelis....

Posted by: GroovisMaximus61 | April 16, 2009 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Groovis, I think chick-fil-A (sp?) already used that one. The guy was kind of dancing and shaking a cow?

Posted by: VaLGaL | April 16, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

I think Spongebob is worse than Sir Mix a Lot. The original song, though crude, actually had a positive message! For example: "I ain't talkin' bout Playboy
'Cause silicone parts are made for toys"

"So Cosmo says you're fat
Well I ain't down with that!"

See--he was challenging (white) societal notions of what constitutes "beauty." Go Sir Mix a Lot!

Spongebob is also crude, and lacks any kind of worthwhile message. Therefore, Spongebob is the worst part of the campaign.

Posted by: 123face | April 16, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Wow VaLGaL, you're right. I wonder if that's in line with their Christian values?

123Face, nice!

Posted by: MzFitz | April 16, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Also, this was definitely not the most offensive commercial aired during the tournament. Sadly, if we want' our kids to watch sports on tv, we have to realize they will get bombarded with garbage. I usually just mute it during commercials & try to distract my son with an old parenting trick called "conversation."

twitter.com/daddyism

Posted by: 123face | April 16, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

fr VaL GaL:

>...Groovis, I think chick-fil-A (sp?) already used that one. The guy was kind of dancing and shaking a cow?

Chick-fil-A is nasty. My wife and I went there ONCE. NEVER again.

Posted by: Alex511 | April 16, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

I see no problem with it. It airs on adult targeted shows so if your kids see it, then its your fault. By the way, who watches commercials anymore.

Posted by: pipe1 | April 16, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

When will we start seeing men's genitals measured like french fries? Putting a phone book on a woman's butt and measuring it is totally funny as long as you think measuring a guy's di.. is equally funny. They can use Salt and Pepper's song... shake shake booty...

What a sick culture!

Posted by: lk11 | April 16, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Big Spongebob fan...not so much MC Mix-a-lot. I love music but his stuff is crud.

When I first saw the ad, I was instantly concerned that it would eventually end up running during kids cartoon time. It should never.

Posted by: jevierra | April 16, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

While I agree with Sir MixALot challenging society's notions of conventional beauty with "Baby Got Back," I must admit it isn't an appropriate song for kids. When it first came out, I was 18 and working as a manager at a swim club. Nothing weirded me out more than hearing a bunch of NINE-YEAR-OLD girls there one day hollering that line, "My anaconda don't want none unless it got buns, hon!" I spent the rest of the day praying that they didn't know what that meant, but I had a horrible feeling they did!

And for the record, that commercial is shown all day-I've seen it on several channels at different times, and it's just not appropriate for kids!

And atlmom1234 and 123face, you're not alone in thinking that SpongeBob is definitely not wholesome in the slightest. In fact, most cartoons today have no plot line, no manners, no real values, and seem like giant commercials for their junky toys. We've banned Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network in our house for years now, and I have no plans to change that as long as they show junk TV that has no educational impact whatsoever!

Posted by: dragondancer1814 | April 16, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

dragondancer1814 wrote:
Nothing weirded me out more than hearing a bunch of NINE-YEAR-OLD girls there one day hollering that line, "My anaconda don't want none unless it got buns, hon!" I spent the rest of the day praying that they didn't know what that meant, but I had a horrible feeling they did!
________________________________

If the GIRLS were singing that line, I don't think they know what it meant :)

Posted by: pipe1 | April 16, 2009 12:25 PM | Report abuse

As a teacher, it annoys me that they're singing about square butts, but clearly the women have butts shaped like rectangular prisms.

Posted by: rrap1 | April 16, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

"Groovis, I think chick-fil-A (sp?) already used that one. The guy was kind of dancing and shaking a cow?"

ValGal - that was Carl's Jr., NOT Chick-fil-a. There were two "milkshake" commercials; they're on YouTube if anybody wants to see them.

Carl's Jr. has a long history of such commercials, including the use of Paris Hilton in a couple shortly after her sex tape came out. (They own the Hardee's brand in the southeast US, too.)

Say all you want about Chick-fil-a's "Christian values" and their refusal to open on Sundays, but they do stick by them pretty closely. I can't believe they'd run a commercial like that.

Think what you want about their food; it's all pretty much just "fast food."

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | April 16, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

The thing that freaked me out about this commercial was the thought of that creepy Burger King guy getting aroused by looking at Spongebob Square Pant's square butt. What other kids tv shows turn him on? Horrible commercial.

Posted by: exbrown | April 16, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse

"Say all you want about Chick-fil-a's "Christian values" and their refusal to open on Sundays, but they do stick by them pretty closely. I can't believe they'd run a commercial like that.

Think what you want about their food; it's all pretty much just "fast food." '

BTW, ValGal, I know that my first paragraph above was in response to MzFitz's posting and the second responded to Alex511 - I wasn't implying that you said all three. My apologies if you thought I was.

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | April 16, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Today's kids don't know the Sir Mix-A-Lot original. So, for my 6-yr-old niece, it was just a funny song about square tushies. In fact, it inspired her to compose her own "I like this book & I cannot lie" song, which I found rather clever.

Agree with previous posters that creepy king is the worst.

Posted by: patriciawsf | April 16, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

The TV is evil!

Posted by: WhackyWeasel | April 16, 2009 12:46 PM | Report abuse

There's no such thing as "Carl's Jr." where I am. It must have been Hardees...see, that is what is meant when one prefaces a statement with "I think." But the point was that the song has already been used in a fast food commercial and it was pretty gross and did not make me want a milkshake at all from anywhere...
All fast food is nasty - no one grease pit has a corner on gross.

Posted by: VaLGaL | April 16, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Vulgar and disgusting, notice how the girls are dressed as teenagers? One more instance of how hollywood wants your little girl to grow up to be... a skanky piece of meat.

Posted by: pwaa | April 16, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

The Internet is not always a place where you find facts, so I'm not convinced that what I found is correct, but I found references to it being a Chick-Fil-A ad. I was shocked, which is where my comment comes from.

Posted by: MzFitz | April 16, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

"The Internet is not always a place where you find facts, so I'm not convinced that what I found is correct, but I found references to it being a Chick-Fil-A ad. I was shocked,"

Search YouTube; you can find the ads. They're definitely Carl's Jr/Hardees.

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | April 16, 2009 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Um, let's get real here. The original song is over a decade old. In rap, the 90s were like B&W tv, ie, pretty tame. How about nine year olds singing about licking lollipops ala Lil Wayne? No one complains that they play songs like that on top 40 stations throughout the day, and judging from the people who call in they're all young girls listening. Spongebob is also known for inuendo which is why it has a larger adult following than other children's cartoons. I don't know how people can consider this commercial offensive without taking everything else into perspective. I bet it's all being orchestrated by Disney and McDonalds to try to start a boycott of their competitors. Lastly, for all the kids who end up seeing the commercial, ask them what a right angle is and I guarantee they will know.

Posted by: mexxican | April 16, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Lighten up. If you stopped using the TV as a baby sitter and spent some time with your kids, you wouldn't have to worry about your children seeing an ad intended for adults.

Posted by: kenman57 | April 16, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

AB, who cares, I never said anything offensive. In fact, I pointed out that I might be wrong. I don't have access to youtube at work, and don't really care that much.

I'm out. Now I know why you were called the "mean mommies" so often last summer. You pick at sh!t that isn't even there.

Posted by: MzFitz | April 16, 2009 11:12 PM | Report abuse

First, this commercial is airing during family shows as well, like American Idol, so I think the corporate line that the ad is targeted for adults only is pure spin.

Second, the fact that many people don't find this ad offensive for children scares me more than the vulgarity of the ad itself. The media continues to objectify women as body parts and this ad now uses a cartoon character that children watch to add to that objectification and sells it to kids. We wonder why so many young girls are being abducted and never found...why so many men are watching porn containing younger and younger teens..

I am waiting for the media to adopt a "Baby got brains...Baby got courage...Baby got grace...Baby got wisdom...Baby still earning 75 cents to his dollar" mentality so I can teach my three young sons that the women they marry and the daughters they raise are more than than a piece of a** -- now I wish the rest of the world was on board with some moral compass.

Posted by: cwoods1 | April 17, 2009 5:49 AM | Report abuse

For those of you that don't let your kids watch TV-I think that is great-is it hard for them in school when they hear other kids talking about shows?

Posted by: sunflower571 | April 17, 2009 8:32 AM | Report abuse

Now that is just scary. There's some ridiculous adverts about now but the BK one takes the biscuit - it's creepy, seedy and weird...and reprehensible at that!

Posted by: busyreader | April 21, 2009 11:03 AM | Report abuse

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