The Carl’s Jr. menu is among the greatest fast food draws in the Western United States, but the real draw isn’t primarily the food. This comes from CEO of CKE Restaurants Andrew Puzder, who has stated that sales for the restaurant have gone up since the introduction of sexist commercials.
This could be disconcerting for feminist activists, as it appears their efforts to stop letting women be seen as sex objects may be in vain. Of course, not all feminists may feel this way, as Emma Watson, spokesperson for the group “HeForShe,” went nearly topless for a Vanity Fair photo shoot. Her explanation after the backlash was that feminism is not “a stick to beat others with” as much as about female freedom. This coincides with Miley Cyrus’ explanation a few years ago after her nearly nude music video for “Wrecking Ball.”
Watson stated that said freedom means the ability to do whatever you feel, which allegedly opposes what a majority of feminists believe. The popular definition appears to be that feminists are supposed to maintain dignity in their public appearance, not giving in to the “norm” of participating in racy photo shoots.
As Andrew Puzder has claimed, such prudence doesn’t sell as well as seeing Paris Hilton eat a burger half naked on a car covered in soap suds. The idea was to invoke a sense of lust for men craving a quick meal, and according to Carl’s Jr. menu sales, it worked. It’s the classic rule: Sex sells.
Puzder responded to the backlash which has failed to stop sales of the restaurant’s burgers and other items, using grocery store magazine covers as an example.
“I think that any grocery store you go into, or drug stores you’re going to see on magazine covers things that are more revealing than you saw in many of our ads. I’m sorry that they feel that way, but we saved the company with those ads, we saved a lot of jobs.”
A restaurant is a business, first and foremost. Their business is to sell food to the consumer and make a profit so they can continue to pay their employees a decent wage. Said employees might not stay with the company as long if their pay is cut due to financial burdens on the business. Losing their jobs because of a lack of business is not an option, so the restaurant chain has to take chances to make themselves stand out against fellow giants such as McDonald’s and Burger King.
The chance which has apparently paid off well was using female celebrities like Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian, and Heidi Klum in ads showing off their bodies alongside the company’s main product, according to Fox News.
Puzder is the same man who turned down the chance to be Labor Secretary under President Donald Trump. His priority was to keep his restaurant chain in business, especially since the merger with Hardee’s. The chain was on the verge of collapse, he claims, and the racy advertisements were what kept it going.
“Now we prevented it from collapsing. A big part of that was the way we advertised the brand. We got the attention of this demographic, young hungry guys, which was what our marketing and research department advised us to do.”
As a result of the chance Puzder took instead of becoming a member of Trump’s cabinet, the Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s menu have sold much better and saved the jobs of 75,000 people in the United States. More than half of those jobs are held by women and minorities. By Puzder’s reasoning, the racy and sexist ads were a means to a more profitable end.
What do you think? Does seeing a female celebrity half-naked in an advertisement for burgers justify maintaining more jobs in the United States?
[Featured Image by Jonathan Weiss/Shutterstock]