Monday, July 9, 2007

Hardee's: Feeding Straight Men

Hardees hamburgerFor quite some time the Hardee's burger chain has been targeting straight, blue-collar males in their advertising. It is the only demographic that would find scenes of exaggerated mastication and licking food off paper, fingers and pants as something that would encourage them to eat at the sponsoring restaurant. I have found these commercials to be moderately sickening, but for attracting the target market I'm sure it has been a good ploy.

With most advertising campaigns, you know that it is only a matter of time before it is replaced with a new one, so you only have to bear the bad ones for a limited amount of time. Unfortunately, with this campaign it seems like it has been going on for several years with no end in sight, and even worse the company's ad buyers seem to be deliberately concentrating their placement on shows I watch (which doesn't say much for their selections).

David Hasselhoff eating Out a burgerI admit sometimes I have had a strange fascination watching the ads, trying to understand what my not gay counterparts would enjoy about them. For example, there is the latest commercial video with the near nude blonde ripping into an oversized burger. I'm not sure how the imagery of a woman savagely using her incisors on a piece of meat is considered an appealing visual for wooing males (straight or otherwise).

It has occurred to me that perhaps there is a positive side to all of this. For any gay men with a fetish for straight guys, Hardee's can be your hetero hunting ground. Spend your lunch hour absorbing the smells of burnt meat, testosterone, and construction sweat. I wonder if Hardee's has thought about the possibility of this marginal offshoot from the gay community.

gay parody of Hardees sign

(a parody)

On a side note, on my way home tonight I noticed a sign in the window at my local Hardee's advertising their 2 for $3 Big Shef special and I decided to do some on-site research. I went through the drive-thru and even though the glass was tinted (to block the customers' view of any health code violations?), I could see that the store inside was devoid of customers. Oh, well. I imagine in my neighborhood most people would be like me and feel that eating in the store is akin to eating in a restroom, so I wasn't surprised. Still, I liked Burger Chef's Big Shef back in the day, and was willing to check out Hardee's incarnation of the famous sandwich to see how close they came to the original. The time that has passed since Hardee's devoured the Burger Chef chain and threw out their menu has not been so long that I wouldn't know for sure that the Hardee's and Burger Chef versions are not the same. They both have a bun and some ground meat but that is the extent of the similarity.

Burger Chef Eating Out

The sandwich was edible, although in keeping with the maximum unhealthiness campaign it was strongly over salted. There was no problem in getting it down as the thick concentration of grease allowed the bites of burger to easily slide down the gullet. However, the layer of grease seemed to also block any taste other than the salt from getting to the taste buds. If you go to Hardee's for the man watching, I suggest just getting a diet coke, and if you sit in the dining area, wear something easily washable.


Brad Niess said...

Hardee's of Osage will be hosting the conservative policy group,
Family Leader tomorrow, February 24th. I can't believe that a fast
food restaurant is hosting an anti-gay group. I use to work here as a
teenager and can't believe the ignorance the owner has to allow this.