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Friday, April 17, 2009

U S of Eh!

The advantage of living so close to the American border is the peephole into what our Southern neighbours see as news. I'm watching King5 News at Noon, from Washington state. There's a few stories catching my eye though.

First, "Sizzling Hot", the story they broadcast on how burger chains are using scantily clad women to sell their food. Burger King's "I Like Square Butts" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h5X4TSbGreA) is friggin awesome. Carl's Jr. meanwhile, (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X8nJKa13sBo) is... interesting. I can kind of see the problem American families have with these ads. Let's look at Burger King first.

For starter's its a great idea. Spongebob + catchy 90s song + fast food = most of the target demographic in one fell swoop. And it's funny as hell. Mom's argument is that "Nickelodeon has authorised its most popular character to promote lechery". That last word is a little harsh, but I get what they're saying.

Carl's Jr took me a little more research (emphasis on 'little'. Thanks Wikipedia!). The woman in the ad, Padma Lakshmi, is the host of Top Chef, a reality TV show as well as a successful model. It's pretty damn sexual, and there's cleavage a-floppin' everywhere. Again, point taken.

Next item on the news: A group of parents are protesting a coffee stand as the uniform for their baristas (all female I assume) is at best a unique marketing ploy, and at worst "the sex trade being sold to our children."

Bunny Baristas (there's a clue) is a small drive-thru coffee house becoming known for the girls dressing up as Playboy Bunnies: bikinis, with rabbit ears and tails.

Come to think of it, I can imagine the group of "parents" is likely also made up of mostly female members...

On one forum a member describes them as being "red hot" as a business idea in Washington. The catch, of course, is that the coffee shop is located in the car park of two day care centres, on a school bus route. Sorry - centers. Damn my spelling!

Once again, I can see the cause for concern. But in each of these cases, the offenders have utilised the most commmonly known mantra in advertising: Sex Sells.

Secondly, the response is far too great for the problem. Not the protest in the last story - hey, first amendment it up for all I care. I'm talking about the severity of their opinions such as the quote above, taken from a protestor's sign. This is an actual quote from an interviewee:

They’ve been asking their teachers, they’ve been asking their moms why they are seeing breasts and vaginas when they’re on their way to school and back... It’s not fair to have sex trades and adult entertainment in front of children.

I didn't realise full-on lapdances were being performed on the streets! And do you know any 6 year olds that know what 'vagina' is? My point is that an issue is only as big as the backlash. If a kid drops the F-bomb, we chastise him. But if we didn't, would he still use it as a swear?

Bring the Bunnies north of the border, I know of more than one person that would welcome them with open pants. I mean arms.

Sports and weather are next.

By The Way: Stanley Cup Playoffs just started, and guess what? The Leafs aren't in it. Ah well. Oh, and it's pissing down for the first day of the Telus Festival.
I bet you guys only watched the 2nd ad after I mentioned the word 'cleavage', too.

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