- Jack in the Box
- Jack in the Box released a controversial ad for its new teriyaki bowls, and critiques are pouring in.
- The fast-food chain’s mascot uses the word “bowls” as a play on words.
- He is seen telling other men in his office they have “nice bowls” as one woman says “Everyone is going to want to get their hands on Jack’s bowls.”
- AdWeek’s David Griner called the commercial “one of the most tone-deaf ads of the #MeToo era.”
Fast-food chain Jack in the Box is under fire for a sexual innuendo-laden TV advertisement that critics have called “tone deaf.”
The company launched a commercial featuring its mascot and fictitious CEO, Jack, bragging about the burger chain’s new teriyaki bowls.
Jack, who wears a fake clown-like head, is seen using the word “bowls” as a play on words suggesting to viewers that he’s actually referencing male genitalia.
“While other burger places serve the same old stuff, I’m the only one with the bowls to serve something different,” Jack says as he compliments male colleagues for their “nice bowls.”
In the clip, each person is seen holding two bowls near their waistlines.
One female colleague agrees that her co-worker has “nice bowls” while another says: “Everyone is going to want to get their hands on Jack’s bowls.”
In another scene, an executive tells Jack that he can’t use such language in an advertisement. Jack seems baffled as to why he wouldn’t be able to tell people, “Enjoy my bowls.”
AdWeek’s David Griner called the commercial “one of the most tone-deaf ads of the #MeToo era.”
“In perhaps its most telling moment, the ad tries to go meta by having a lawyer explain to Jack that the campaign is inappropriate, but (in a commendable accurate portrayal of male executives), he doesn’t understand what the fuss is about,” Griner wrote.
Other brand strategists on Twitter also criticized the ad, saying it’s “not the right time” for such content.
— Taking the high road (@LeadnowUSA) August 8, 2018
Jack in the Box and the ad agency behind the campaign, David and Goliath, have defended the commercial.
“[A]s a brand known by its fans for its tongue-in-cheek, playful sense of humor, this ad is simply a creative and humorous expression around the teriyaki bowl product,” the companies said in a joint statement to CBS News.
The statement continued: “It intends to highlight how a burger brand such as Jack in the Box dares to go beyond the usual fast food fare and serve something different.”
In a description to the advertisement uploaded to YouTube, the chain also defends the commercial.
“Jack in the Box wants it to be known that any of the following phrases are simply a reference to Jack’s delicious Teriyaki Bowls,” the description reads.
But some consumers are not having it, and tweeted their critiques of the ad:
— Paul Maccabee (@maccabeepr) August 7, 2018
why was i forced to listen to a jack in the box commercial where he talks about his meaty and sweet “bowls” i hate
— kim???? (@peachykimm) August 7, 2018
— Lauri (@LauriABingham) August 8, 2018
Jack in the Box is known for off color and controversial ads that get people talking. This is simply not the right time. They could have done something smart without fishing for "balls" jokes. #MeToo era or not, the creatives need to get more creative. https://t.co/76FkS2IpHk
— Lathan Lev (@LevNation20) August 6, 2018