A side of hypocrisy: Burger King and Fox mock Jessica Simpson's weight
On Sunday, Fox NFL Sunday ran the clip, which featured animated versions of the Dallas Cowboys trading fat jokes about Jessica Simpson, the ex-girlfriend of Dallas quarterback Tony Romo.
Although the piece was put together by Fox, Burger King's willingness to attach its name to the sketch has led several commentators to point out the chain's astounding level of hypocrisy. After all, this is the restaurant that gave the world the triple whopper, with 1230 calories, 82 grams of fat, and 1560 grams mg of sodium, and it has long since positioned itself as the go-to chain for burly, meat-munching manly men. Naturally, this begs the question of why the restaurant would want to open itself to fresh criticism by hurling fat jokes at Jessica Simpson.
The answer might lie in another Burger King ad campaign. This July, the chain ran an ad for its "Super Seven Incher" burger extravaganza that featured an image of a wide-eyed, open-mouthed woman facing down a massive sandwich. Meanwhile, the slogan stated that "IT'LL BLOW your mind away." If the heavy-handed double-entendre wasn't enough to convey the promo's sexualization of a burger, the model's vapid, inflatable-doll expression should have made it clear that this ad was about a lot more than a piece of flame-broiled meat.
And how about Burger King's Sponge Bob/Sir Mix-a-Lot mash-up? Featuring the freaky, plastic-faced Burger King mascot, the ad offers images of mini-shorted models shakin' their phonebook-shaped rumps to the lyrics "I like square butts and I cannot lie...," suggesting a level of odd sexualization that seems somewhat inappropriate for Sponge Bob's target audience.
It's worth pointing out that, even with her much-noted weight gain, Jessica Simpson is still well below the size of the average American woman, much less the Cowboy's bloated coach, Wade Phillips. With this in mind, the fact that BK is making hay with pre-adolescent fat jokes opens up quite a few very interesting questions about the sort of emotionally-stunted man-child that the company has identified as its core audience. Why is Burger King trying to scrape up the bottom of the misogynistic low-self-esteem barrel? Is it trying to suggest that, in the end, it's the only one who really loves the fat kid? More important, will this strategy work?