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Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Why is SpongeBob in a Sexy Commercial?

posted by Nell Minow

What were they thinking? The latest Burger King ad for a Kids Meal featuring a SpongeBob Squarepants toy is a booty-shaking adaptation of Sir Mix-a-Lot’s famous musical salute to ladies’ rear ends. This is what the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood has to say:

Nickelodeon and Burger King have reached a new low. They’ve partnered to produce a new, highly sexualized, ad for a Burger King SpongeBob SquarePants Kids Meal. The commercial, which ran during the men’s NCAA basketball championship last night, features The King singing a remix of Sir Mix-A-Lot’s 1990’s hit song, “Baby Got Back” with the new lyrics, “I like square butts and I cannot lie.” The ad shows images of The King singing in front of women shaking their behinds for the camera intercut with images of SpongeBob dancing along. The King even measures the behind of one of the woman who has stuffed a phonebook under her dress. After the King informs children about the free SpongeBob toy they get with the purchase of a Burger King Kids Meal, the ad ends with Sir Mix-A-Lot, lounging on a couch with two female admirers, saying, “Booty is booty.”

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It’s harmful enough when a beloved media icon advertises junk food to children, but it’s utterly reprehensible when SpongeBob simultaneously promotes the objectification of women through sexualized imagery.

If you find this ad campaign directed at children offensive, the easiest way to express your views is by sending an email to Nickelodeon and Burger King via CCFC’s website.

  • Anna

    I actually really enjoyed the commercial. It was a catchy tune back then.. now made “fresh” (no pun). Nice to see Burger King with a hip ad!

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Thanks, Anna. I would not have a problem with their use of the song if it was not associated with a popular cartoon character and a kids’ meal.

  • Shaniece

    I don’t believe that there is anything wrong with the commercial or the lyrics to the song…..if that was the case then they should take spongebob of the air all together because there are some episodes that, if you pay close attention, shouldn’t be seen by children.

  • jestrfyl

    I think that the ad agency they are using has sold them a ripe tripe for a campaign. The entire creepy king thing has me interested in NOT eating there. This is only one more step down the ladder of weird and tasteless (an odd thing for a food business) advertising. Perhaps it is time they find another agency to work with.

  • Marcus

    Has this been run during children’s programming, or just with shows geared more toward adults? There IS an adult audience for Spongebob, so if they want to target that specifically with this ad, so be it. But it would be in poor taste to actually run it along with the cartoons. Has anyone actually seen it during programming for kids?

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Marcus, it has run during sports programming that is often watched by kids with their families. And yes, there is an adult audience for SpongeBob but I do not think there is an adult audience for Kids Meals with SpongeBob toys.

  • http://www.richgordon.com Rich

    There is an adult audience for Kids Meals with SpongeBob toys. They’re called “parents.”

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Thanks, Rich, but I don’t think that makes this commercial appropriate, do you? Generally, even though it is adults who purchase items for children, it is considered good marketing to make the advertising child-oriented. I think this commercial will turn off most parents because of its inappropriate content.

  • BigMan123

    Really? Just hush up. This is America. If your child is influenced by that commercial, then you’re not raising him/her right.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Interesting, BigMan123. What exactly does “This is America” mean? That in America we don’t interfere with the efforts of big corporate interests to surround children with inappropriate material? There is a multi-billion dollar industry called advertising that is predicated on the ability of commercials to influence people. So making sure a child is not influenced is not as easy as you think. But I appreciate the comment!

  • E Smith

    These are such ridiculous things to gripe about. It is a silly ad and there is nothing real about it… I could think of 500 other things to complain about on Nickelodeon, and about 10,000 things wrong in the world at large… SHUT THE HELL UP ABOUT A SPONGEBOB – BURGERKING ad. PLEASE! Wankers Everywhere…

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Thanks, E Smith, but if it is ridiculous to complain about a Spongebob ad, it is arguably even more ridiculous to complain about complaining about it. Glad to hear from you but we do have a rule on the site prohibiting insults because, well, that is one of the 10,000 things wrong in the world that is more important than a Spongebob ad. If you have any actual point you want to make and can do so with civility, I welcome your comments.

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