A father writes a letter to Carl's Jr. about racy commercials; hundreds of others also complain

Compiled by Sarah Petersen, Deseret News

Published: Wed, Sept. 3, 2014, 4:45 p.m. MDT

 Although the commercials' sexual content isn't new, many bloggers recently have begun to express their disappointment with the ads for fast-food restaurant Carl's Jr.

Although the commercials' sexual content isn't new, many bloggers recently have begun to express their disappointment with the ads for fast-food restaurant Carl's Jr.

(Jeff Chiu, Associated Press)

Although the commercials have been around for years, many bloggers have begun vocalizing their disgust for Carl's Jr. ads.

With comments coming from concerned parents and other offended viewers, many are pushing for a change.

The fast-food company, which is run by CKE Restaurants and acquired Hardee's in 1997, became known for its suggestive commercials after Paris Hilton was featured in a racy 2005 advertisement. Since then, the company has continued to use sexual marketing tactics not only in commercials but also through social media.

Family media groups, including One Million Moms, have campaigned against the advertisements. One Million Moms released several statements regarding a Carl's Jr. commercial in 2013.

But since the release of the company's most recent commercial on July 28, others have taken a stand.

Blogger Greg Trimble addressed this topic in his post titled "A Letter From A Dad to Carl's Jr. and the Women in their Commercials."

"I’ve been a big fan of your burgers for a long time. You’ve always had a unique taste that kept me coming back," Trimble wrote.

"But things have changed between me and you. Your little smiling stars now make me frown. I haven’t eaten your food for at least two years now. So many times I’m in a hurry during a busy work day, and your food sounds so good to me, but I just won’t let myself because of what you stand for now."

Trimble explains that while he understands he is responsible for raising his children and determining what media they consume, commercials like those for Carl's Jr., which air between family friendly programs, make that hard to do.

"You are destroying everything that a woman should be 30 seconds at a time ... almost as if you’re administering mental poison by degrees, and you’re taking the young people with you. A little bit of shock value here and a little bit of shock value there until it’s just 'OK,' " Trimble wrote.

"If you were a TV show or a movie with a rating, then we would know how and when to avoid you, but you are sneaky and it’s impossible to retract those images once they’ve hit their little brains."

Other parents have echoed Trimble's comments on YouTube and social media sites.

"I'm disappointed. What does soft porn have to do with a hamburger?" Cindy Cross wrote on YouTube. "I'm ashamed for Carl's Jr. and their attempt to advertise. My kids shouldn't be subjected to things like this while we're watching football. Makes me sick."

"Not a family restaurant," Mary Weeks wrote on YouTube. "You just lost lots of families that just rushed to change the commercial when this came on. I'm trying to teach my son to respect women and they are more than their bodies. And I'm trying to teach my preteen daughter that being sexy is not something to strive for."

Over the years, several campaigns have tried to combat the controversial advertisements, including a change.org petition and Facebook pages asking for the commercials to stop.

Viewers also continue to voice their opinions on the National Consumer Complaint Forum for Carl's Jr.

"Well, it looks like I've had the last straw with Carl's Jr. I used to take my family regularly to have a nice sit down to enjoy a burger but after seeing your ... commercial, I was stunned, disgusted and disappointed in myself for giving money to a corporation that cares nothing about women, children and families," one viewer wrote.

"Your advertising is obscene, indecent, disturbing, degrading, objectifying and targeted to whomever will look, including children who should not be exposed to adult content."

Beauty Redefined, a site run by sisters Lindsay and Lexie Kite and dedicated to taking back beauty for girls and women, has responded to the Carl's Jr. commercials with a campaign pledging to #CutTheCarls.

Lexie Kite's husband, Travis, accepted the challenge and encouraged others to do the same in a blog post titled "To my fellow 18-35 year-olds." In the article, Travis questions why men have supported such content.

"We never should have let it get this far. Maybe, like me, you’ve cared about women and how they feel about this sort of thing all your life, but have mostly been on the sidelines. Well, it’s time to step up to the plate, son," Travis said.

Andy Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants, defended the company's advertising in 2005, following the release of Paris Hilton's commercial.

"Maybe people are excited because it's Paris Hilton, but there are far worse things on television that these groups should be worried about," Puzder said.

But not all parents see it that way.

"I’m just begging you on behalf of all the dads, and all the youth of our nation, to go back to selling burgers and get away from selling sex and promiscuity," Trimble wrote.

Email: spetersen@deseretnews.com | Twitter: @Sarah_DNews

1. TOO
Sanpete, UT,
Sept. 3, 2014

What's the big deal?

Haven't people realized that sex sales? I would be shocked if I didn't turn on the TV or internet to see this.

This country--and world have gone morally bankrupt. It's a shame that the Paris Hiltons, Jennifer Lopez, Miley Cyrus' and other promiscuous people of the world are idolized. It wasn't long ago when a single swear word in a movie was considered outrageous.

I fear for the youth of this country. I'm glad and am hoping that there are more good people out there that are willing to speak up.

2. RSL*
Why, AZ,
Sept. 3, 2014

I like the commercials but to be fair I do not have children to worry about.

3. Michael Matthews
Omaha, NE,
Sept. 3, 2014

Agreed. I get sick to my stomach actually when I drive by a Carl's Jr. if one of the commercial's comes to mind. Others of course think it's a great thing or at least not a big deal. They vote with their wallet. I vote with mine.

4. toosmartforyou
Farmington, UT,
Sept. 3, 2014

I'll tell you how I show my displeasure with their advertising: I NEVER eat at Carl's Jr....NEVER. And yes, it is because of the advertising.

5. jeanie
orem, UT,
Sept. 3, 2014

Good for this dad!