If you've been paying attention to Carl's Jr commercials in the last several years, you know they're a little (read: a lot) problematic. Basically every commercial features one or more thin, white women dressed in bikinis and stuffing themselves with charbroiled meat.
Carl's Jr just released a new ad, however, without a woman wearing a bikini as the focus. In fact, this new commercial makes the claim that the company will stop making sexy (and sexist) commercials all together.
The video shows Carl Senior swooping in to save the company from his son, Carl Jr. You see, the company used to be all about quality meat and fresh ingredients but when Carl Sr. gave control over to Carl Jr., things started to change.
His son got "distracted" from the company's goal — and that's why there have been so many sexy women feeding each other bacon in their ads. But that's all about to change. He even makes a show of it by replacing Jr's photo of a model holding a burger with a new picture of just the burger.
In case it wasn't painfully obvious, this is all made up. There is no irresponsible and immature boy behind the company's sexist ads — that was probably a room full of grown men.
While we're glad Carl Jr's is planning to stop making ads that make us cringe, the way they're framing the change is just as problematic as sexually objectifying women to sell meat. This commercial relies heavily on the "boys will be boys" trope, which aims to excuse men for their actions.
"It's not our fault," they're saying with this ad. "Objectifying women is just what boys do."
To make matters worse, the ad agency behind these commercials made it clear that this change has nothing to do with treating women better.
“It was time to evolve,” Jason Norcross, executive creative director of the ad agency, told Adweek. “Some of the product attributes got lost because people were too busy ogling girls.”
So it's not that Carl's Jr wants to make up for years of sexually objectifying women, but that they're worried about women overshadowing their burgers. That doesn't sound like "evolving" to us.