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The Sexualization of SpongeBob

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The latest Burger King commercial has some parents in an uproar. Is this any way to advertise kids' meals?!

The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) has launched a letter-writing campaign demanding that Nickelodeon and Burger King immediately pull a new, "highly sexualized" television ad for BK's 99-cent SpongeBob Kids Meal.

"It's bad enough when companies use a beloved media character like SpongeBob to promote junk food to children, but it's utterly reprehensible when that character simultaneously promotes objectified, sexualized images of women," said CCFC director Susan Linn in a press release. "That Burger King and Nickelodeon would sell kids' meals by associating a beloved male character like SpongeBob with lechery shows how little either company cares about the well-being of the children they target."

In a response provided to Marketing Daily on Wednesday, Burger King Corp. said that it welcomes the opportunity to "clear up any confusion" about the intentions of the advertising.

BK points out that the Kids Meal is a "value-based offer aimed at adults" and requires an adult BK Value Meal purchase. The commercial is meant to appeal to adults who take their kids to BK, and as with all BK adult advertising campaigns, it is being shown "only during shows targeting adult audiences," the company states. The commercial "is intended to show that even adults can have fun, laugh and be silly with entertainment genres -- such as rap and pop culture icons -- that have become part of everyday life."

The chain has developed a second, "completely different" SpongeBob advertising campaign for kids that's currently airing on kid-targeted programming, BK adds.

Do you think this ad is inappropriate ... or is this much ado about nothing?

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50 comments so far | Post a comment now
youreprobablyallfat April 16, 2009, 3:25 AM

all u fatties complaining about this commercial are just jealous. ur all fat and disgusting and upset that ur husbands find u sickening. ur probably all christians, too, which makes any and all opinions u have worth nothing, since christianity is a cancer and all it’s followers are ignorant scum. women are worthless, stupid animals, christianity is FOR worthless, stupid animals, and the fact that ur all upset about this is more of a joke than when u put on make up and do ur hair to go out- ur still repugnant and society wants nothing to do with any of u.

Nella April 16, 2009, 4:59 PM

I don’t have kids but I also found this ad to be offensive. Parody or not, it objectifies women and comes across as pure sexism. Kids should be taught to respect women (and men, and people in general).

The fact that BK would align itself with a rapper known for objectifying women is disgraceful. It reminds me of when the the very adult rapper Snoop Doggy Dog (whose lyrics denigrate women) was almost hired to work with the Muppets.

Bria April 16, 2009, 7:03 PM

OMG! some people have no sense of humor. i mean to a kids eyes that knows nothing about sex this is funny and about SPONGEBOB. and since you adults know about sex and what it mean your just makign a really big deal about it. and really if you watch spongebob you see his butt alot of times and even him shaking it.lighten up, its just a joke

Janet April 22, 2009, 8:09 PM

I have personally boycotted Burger King for my family due to this commercial. QUIT SEXUALIZING OUR CHILDREN!!! “Booty is Booty” What in the HELL!!???????????????

lyn April 22, 2009, 10:26 PM

very inappropriate..

RDA April 23, 2009, 9:48 PM

I saw this commercial while watching TV with my ten year old daughter and was very annoyed by it! To have those girls dancing like that, “square butts” or not, and that creepy King measuring them up!! Come on!! It is suggestive and not appropriate for a KIDS MEAL!!! It’s ridiculous!!!

Mom101 April 27, 2009, 11:56 AM

Wow, a headline that reads “the sexualization of Spongebob” followed by outraged quotes that support that headline, instead of describing an adult-targeted parody of a well known 90s pop culture phenomenon.

No wonder people are up in arms.

Good job Mom Logic. You’re always great with the tabloid headlines that misrepresent the issue entirely. And the readers here are great at falling for it.

HOUSTONLONELY July 15, 2009, 3:04 PM

I think all you all peopel exagerating, you making a big deal about this, I like the commercial i think is funny, i have a 7 and 3 years old son and they like sponge bob, I dont see nothing wrong with that, come one now, you all need to focus more on something more important..

Mindy Corwell February 11, 2011, 6:02 AM

Big ups to you for sharing this. It’s pretty really truly so good. I found the most excellent piece of information here.

airbrush tattoos April 8, 2011, 11:07 PM

Great character I LOVE spongebob

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