Culture Jam Assignment – Pavraj Jhally

Culture Jam Assignment


This advertisement by Carl’s Jr. was an attempt to promote a hamburger the fast-food chain had released. It doesn’t take much for one to realize how sexually suggestive the wording of the advertisement is. The phrase on top of the burger, and the size of the burger itself suggests the phrase is implying “the bigger the better.” That on its own might not suggest anything sexual. However, when you include an attractive female in provocative clothing, who seems to be enjoying the burger, it brings a sexual vibe and feeling to the advertisement. That feeling of sexuality, coupled with the phrase discussed in the beginning, suggests that the advertisement is talking about size mattering terms of sexual organs – specifically the penis. There are many issues with this advertisement. First, it belittles men who may perceive themselves not as well-endowed as they think they should be, or want to be. It creates self-esteem issues for them because it makes them feel as though what they naturally have is not enough. Men and women grow up with many insecurities about their bodies, to essentially say “if your penis isn’t big, a female won’t enjoy it” is a message that should never be conveyed to any individual (male, female, transsexual, etc.), society should always try to promote that one should be loving of who they are and to accept who they are – in every aspect. Furthermore, while this advertisement discriminates against men, saying women are lying when they say size doesn’t matter acts as a disservice to women. It puts women in a situation where they come across as judgemental, shallow, and, in some ways, misandrist. Finally, I think including the female in the advertisement was unnecessary and served no purpose. With the way she is dressed, the sole purpose of her being in the advertisement is to bring a sense of sexiness to it which I don’t think needs to be included when you are trying to sell a burger. I think it would have been much better if she had been fully clothed and was pictured eating and enjoying the burger.



This photo-shopped version of the Carl’s Jr. advertisement addresses the issues discussed previously. First, removing the female in provocative clothing takes away the initial sexual thoughts one may have by looking at her. More importantly, it draws attention to the actual purpose of the Carl’s Jr. campaign: to spread the word about their new burger, instead of having the thought of sex and sexual acts be consumers’ initial thoughts. Also, the changing of “messy” to “yummy” further distances the advertisement from any sort of sexually suggestive thoughts. Secondly, changing “she” to “they” makes this advertisement inclusive to all those who may come across it. The original advertisement’s use of the pronoun “she” was used in a context in which it was talking to predominately males, while completely disregarding the female demographic. That complete disregard falls right into what the feminism movement is all about when fighting for equality. By making this advertisement directed solely to men and completely glancing over women, it makes women question why they don’t also get the burger advertisement catered towards them? Are men the only ones who eat burgers? Does women enjoyment not matter? Questions like those are all valid because the advertisement leaves so much room for those types of questions to be asked. By changing “she” to “they” it closes the door for those questions because, again, it is inclusive of all. Finally, including a second burger that is smaller than the original burger symbolizes how bigger isn’t always better for everyone, and that you can still achieve full satisfaction from things that are smaller. Some people need big portions to get satisfied, some need medium portions, and some don’t need much at all. That thought ties into the added phrase of “… as long as it’s fitting for YOU!” which is there to remind individuals that everyone is different, and bigger is not always for everyone and being big isn’t the most important thing. The most important thing is being able to find something that accommodates to your needs and well-being, whether that be big, or small – find what’s best for you!