Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Meat Math: Agnus = Anus

Jack in the Box Ads Called Misleading


LOS ANGELES — The parent company of the Carl's Jr. and Hardee's fast food chains sued rival Jack In The Box Inc. on Friday to stop TV ads that it says suggest Carl's Jr. and Hardee's use cow anus to make Angus beef hamburgers.

The best way to make consumers think you don’t put cow anus in your burgers? Start a high-profile lawsuit saying that you definitely, absolutely do not put cow anuses in your hamburgers—none what-so-ever – Carl's Jr. serves 100% anus free beef patties. Hardee’s and cow anus -- just forget you ever heard those words together. Let us not mention Carl Jr. + Hardee’s + Anus ever again.

CKE Restaurants Inc. sued Jack In The Box in U.S. District Court on Friday over an ad in which executives laugh hysterically at the word "Angus" and another where the chain's pingpong ball-headed mascot, Jack, is asked to point to a diagram of a cow and show where Angus meat comes from.

They never come flat out and say Hardee’s is buying up millions of ground up cow posteriors, so what’s the problem here? Perhaps the hot-dog industry is jealous that other companies are moving onto their turf?

"I'd rather not," the pointy-nosed Jack replies. The employee asking the question traces a circle in the air with his pen while pronouncing the word Angus.

Pssst -- Anuses are circular. Pass it on.

CKE claims the ads create the misleading impression that Jack In The Box's new 100 percent sirloin burgers use a better quality of meat than the Angus beef used by Carl's Jr. and Hardee's. CKE claims the spots confuse consumers by comparing sirloin, a cut of meat found on all cattle, with Angus, which is a breed of cattle.

Carl's Jr. is known for running controversial ads -- including one featuring a scantily clad Paris Hilton washing a car while eating a burger-- but claims the Jack In the Box ads go too far.

Carl's Jr. is taking the high road on this one – spokesman confirms Paris Hilton would definitely not put her mouth on any unsavory cow anus.

"They're not being funny," chief executive Andrew F. Puzder said Friday. "They need to stop misleading people about what Angus beef is."

It was a little funny like in a schoolyard way. Angus sounds like Anus. That’s pretty darn close. But now a million-dollar CEO says it’s not funny, so it can’t be funny anymore.

Puzder said that the company asked Jack In the Box to drop the ads, but that the chain refused and pointed to a Carl's Jr. TV spot suggesting Carl's Jr. milk shakes were superior to those served by competitors.

Puzder said the comparison was not valid because the Carl's Jr. ads did not suggest that Jack In the Box shakes were made from milk that came from an unsavory part of the cow.

Semen, right? He’s a Chief Executive of a major, major company and we're to assume he’s talking about bull semen here. What other “unsavory cow part” can be milked? I mean WTF Corporate America, we pay you millions to press release like a sailor? Maybe it's old-fashioned, but I‘m going to take a stand and say that bull shakes are just wrong – even if they're on the 99-cent menu -- and even if they're delicious.

In the end it’s hard to know which side to be on. Hardee’s, Carls’ Jr. and Jack in the Box – they’re enemies, but they also find common ground too, in their common dedication to serving substandard food as quickly as possible.

I think it's because they’re all second-tier fast food chains so they have to peddle in outrageousness to get “edge” and attract the youth demographic.

The top-tier fast food companies (Wendy’s, McDonalds, Burger King) don’t go this way. They don’t need to. They’re confident in who they are and their slogans are uncontroversial platitudes like “I’m Lovin’ It” or “Eat Food Here”. They got to reach the broadest customer base and can’t risk offending grandma by showing Parish Hilton pevically mock-thrusting a car-sized pile of fries.


Related #1: This kind of ad war reminds me of the fabled Tuna Wars of the early 20th century between purveyors of canned pink tuna and canned white tuna. They had competing slogans:

For white: Guaranteed not to turn pink in the can!
For pink: 100% Unbleached tuna fish!

Related #2: McDonald’s New Workplace Posters

2 comments:

Nick said...

Paul,
Your research division is pathetic. While you did link to a proper site, the site will tell you that the wars were fought over salmon, not tuna.

you've had a good run, but i think its time for you to do the noble thing. don't go out like andy rooney, a senile old man sprouting gibberish, but go out like a race horse, getting put down after your first major injury.

maybe you should show your son old yeller, and while he cries over old yeller being shot, explain to him that its his turn to do the same to you. it would be a good character building exercise.

Paul said...

Nick, I made every effort to fact check that tuna story in this entry, but obviously not up to reading the Urban Legends link that was included in the entry itself. That’s pretty shoddy and frankly Andy Roony-ish:

Did you ever notice all the telepathic squirrels outside the “60 Minutes” offices? They’re always broadcasting subliminal commands into our brains. Now I wonder why that is? I think they want me to feed them, but they can't even be bothered to find their own acorns. Well it just makes me mad, another lazy rodent using mind-control to get an easy handout.