Saturday, February 2, 2008

My Ad Analysis: "I Am Man" Burger King Ad

Here is a link to the video:

This ad is for Burger King, specifically its seasonal (promotional) Texas Double Whopper. It appeared in May of 2006 on television, and it appeared at this time because this is when the promotional sandwich was available. The target audience of the ad is men, as will be very obvious when viewing the commercial. The lyrics used in the song are very male-centric, and in fact, they are a parody of the song "I Am Woman" by Helen Reddy. The commercial is incredibly stereotypical in its portrayals of men, and that is where it gets its power. It exaggerates stereotypes to the point of ridiculousness, playing on our desire for humor, hoping that we will remember the "funny commercial"that Burger King aired, and then go have a Whopper (or anything, really!). This is especially true for men, but it seems to me that the ad also targets women in the same way, or that it asks men to take their wives/girlfriends/etc. to Burger King and have a meal. The couple can share a laugh while talking about the ridiculousness of the commercial and enjoying the tastiness of the food. The ad puts heavy emphasis on the fact that men often eat more than women and that "only" a place like Burger King has the right amount of food (and that it's good food, to boot). It also shows a sense of belonging; the men in the group all seem to want to belong, and Burger King lets them do that. I find it interesting, and that I would mention that, there has been a great deal of feminist analysis of the ad, and women even seem to feel bad for men because of it (source); they see it as a blatant stab at men, when it is really only out there to make people laugh and to get them to remember Burger King fondly and go eat there, at least in my opinion. I was not offended at all, but I thought it was really funny. In fact, I worked at Burger King for 4 years, so it was even more funny to me, as I remembered with fondness the "stupid" commercials that my employer, at the time, made. Because of this, I also know first-hand that items come and go, and they often come back if they are successful; commercials like this will probably come out this year to promote the sandwich's comeback, as it comes back almost yearly.

Finally, I thought I would clear something up: someone commented on the abovementioned feminist blog post that the word "Texas" is a symbol for masculinity in the commercial (Texas=cowboys, strength, etc.), and this is unfounded; the sandwich is called the Texas Double Whopper because it is made in the "Texas style" (in Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico, Burger Kings have the "Mustard Whopper," with mustard instead of mayonnaise). In fact, Burger Kings in many states and countries have their own different kinds of Whopper--e.g., the Ultimate Double Whopper in the UK and Ireland, which America sometimes has as a promotion (source, to supplement my own memory of BK). Thus, besides making sales, this is the actual REASON for the commercial: to promote a product that most Burger Kings normally don't have (and, thus, will only have for a limited time). Because of this, the commercial did not air for very long (perhaps only a few weeks).