Monday, May 18, 2009


White Castle, you have got to be kidding me.

This is just gross. Is White Castle just trying to think of as many different ways as they can to make me not want anything to do with their food? (To be fair, it's White Castle; they don't need to try all that hard.)

First problem: equating your primary ingredient with an exotic dancer. Worse yet, an exotic dancer in a furry costume. Does White Castle know that there is a group of people out there who find women in pig costumes erotic? Maybe that's just the demographic this ad is trying to cater to. "If you like fucking a chick dressed like a pig, you'll love eating our pulled pork sandwich." Natural leap from one to the other, right? Also weird: the mobile, sentient bag, presumably scouting the strip club for "fresh meat."

That might not even have been so bad if not for the way White Castle pours on the comparisons to sex. Maybe I could have dismissed it as a goofy attempt at humor, but no: here comes the seductive voiceover. I like barbecue sauce, but I can't think of anything that makes me less interested in it than describing it as "come-hither" and "oh so naughty." Hey. White Castle. You make food. You do not make lingerie, marital aids or ED medication. You aren't a chain of shady massage parlors, you aren't a gentleman's club, you aren't even a Westin. You sell food. And when I think of food, I don't want to be thinking about how that food wants me to fuck it.

Even if this ad weren't gross, it's a ridiculous overstatement. Barbecue sauce is naughty? Oh shit, barbecue sauce! Man, this is fucking sinful! I can't believe I'm putting barbecue sauce on something! Especially not on pulled pork, which is only served with barbecue sauce by everyone in existence who serves pulled pork, because that's how pulled pork comes in this country! Go to the head of the class, White Castle, because you are some fucking trendsetters.

Right here is where I'd normally do some bit about "what would happen if other food products advertised like this," but just click the "disgusting sexualization of food" tag at the bottom of this post. There's no more need for satire; there are already ads out there far worse than anything I could come up with. And it's not just food, it's ads in general. I understand that sex sells, but aren't there limits? I'll buy using sex in an ad for Viagra, or even for something like a car. But a woman (I assume) in a pig costume getting drenched in barbecue sauce on a club stage is going to make me hungry for the dead, cooked, actual-pig equivalent? How about a guy dressed as a cow getting hit from above with an enormous square of American cheese? A woman dressed as a chicken getting splashed with egg and pelted with bread crumbs? You're telling me your stomach isn't rumbling right now?

You know what this is? It's the food equivalent of Isabella Rossellini's "Green Porno" series. I have never seen a clip of that show and thought, "Man, I feel like having some sex now." And I don't see this White Castle ad and get hungry. It makes me want to curl up in the fetal position and throw out all the barbecue sauce in my refrigerator before it gets any ideas.


Quivering P. Landmass said...

THE grossest ad out there. The kind of work you'd expect from Crispin Porter, except that they already have Burger King. I like to think maybe they slipped a note to White Castle's agency, Zimmerman, with the concept written down on it, "Play up the weird fetish angle! Furry strip clubs are so in!!"

A couple other interesting points were brought up in this AdWeek blog which I thought I'd share:

"Swine flu and stripper hogs aside, this gets back to the whole issue of suicide food—of ads that show animals celebrating the fact that they're about to be cooked and eaten by humans. For some reason, pigs are especially prone to this, whether you're talking Moo and Oink or the Smokin' Stokes pig, who rolls around on burning coals and "does not merely accept his own destruction. He revels in it." The White Castle pig joins this acclaimed crew, and even does that little dance for you first."

Windier E. Megatons said...

I'm reminded of the Wendy's ad where the cow gets mad that the dude is eating a chicken sandwich. "No! I should be the one slaughtered for your consumption!" Then I'm reminded of SNL's parody of ads like that from fifteen years ago:

"Hear that sizzle? That's me!"

JB+BM said...

Gross, but Burger King's ad was grosser. Fetishizing someone dressed up in a furry pig suit < fetishizing the butt of a juvenile kid's character in a kid's meal commercial.

It's also just easier to see the pig as a metaphor. There is none in the BK commercial. The King wants to fuck Spongebob. It's not a metaphor for anything.

Plus, the King is a known rapist and far creepier than an anthropomorphized pig. For this ad to be its disturbing equivalent, White Castle would need to spend a couple of years on ads and marketing tie-ins presenting the pig as, say, a pedophile cannibal.

Tyler said...

Nice to see the pig from the Moo and Oink commercial getting some extra work.

Allan said...

The person who approved this ad should be fired.

And speaking of spot-on SNL ad parodies, check this out .

ButteryPat said...

You know, they must really know something we don't. It's the only way to explain why we keep seeing ads like this. I mean, I don't tend to talk about shitty commercials with my friends, but I just don't know who finds this type of ad appealing. There must be some real convincing market research on this subject, because I don't know why somebody would advertise their product like this on a whim. I mean, who wants to eat at a strip club? When you go in, you have to order a drink, and I don't even like drinking it. Vaginas can be used to sell a lot of things, but I just never thought using them to sell food made any sense. But, like I said, since they ALL appear to be doing it, they must really know something we don't.

Rick James Bible Owner said...

"I mean, who wants to eat at a strip club?"

Aside from Pacman Jones, no one.
I guess White Castle equates themselves to picking up the last nasty chick at the bar at closing time: no Miss Americas or Smith & Wollenskys are walking through that door at 3 AM.
Hell, Alka Seltzer runs those ads currently where their product is mistaken for a condom, so anything's fair game these days.

Allan said...

no posts here for a long time. i'm missing the witty commentary