CriticalAnalysis of an Advertisement
The report is a critical analysis of the Burger King size inchadvertisement used for a limited promotion in Singapore.
The purposes of this report are to:
Describe the visual arguments that including both the text associated with the image and the image itself.
Assess the larger context of the arguments
Evaluate the effectiveness of the arguments after they are placed into their larger context
Evaluate the efficacy of the advertisement.
The advertisement is a burger king ad for their seven-inch sandwich.The advert features a young blonde woman staring at the sandwich withher mouth wide open in shock. The traditional logo of the burger kingorganization is up in the right-hand corner accompanied by the slogan“it just tastes better.” Below the picture of the woman and thesandwich is the text “IT WILL BLOW YOUR MIND.” At the bottom ofthe advertisement is an image of the entire seven-inch sandwichcaptioned by the words “BK SUPER SEVEN INCHER.” Next to the wholesandwich image is a picture of soda and some French fries beingadvertised for “$6.25 MEAL”. At the bottom end of theadvertisement is a text saying
“fill your desires for something long, juicy and flame-grilledwith the NEW BK SUPER SEVEN-INCHER. Yearn for more after you tastethe mind-blowing burger that comes with a single beef patty, toppedwith American cheese, crispy onions and the A1 Thick and Hearty SteakSauce” (Burger King).
The background of the advert is grey, black and yellow and the textused in the ad is in black and white.
The text and the image of the woman in the advert are quite sexual.The original message the ad conveys is quite obvious since it’s notmuch hidden from the viewer’s eyes and mind. Both the men and womenare likely to be drawn to the ad because it either offends them orthat are attracted to it. However, not so many of them would take alook at the advert and go about their typical day without judging it.Regarding advertising, an effective advert triggers some emotionwithin its target audience and the advert so far succeeded in thataspect. The emotions were due to either disgust or attraction to theadvert. Many experts and advertisement professionals have analyzedand evaluated the burger king ad in the recent past, and some stillcontinue to do it. Even though the advert manipulates the marketingnarrative, layout and evokes a strong reaction to sexism anduncouthness within its target audience causing them not to focus onhow much they want to buy the sandwich but mostly on the nature ofthe ad.
The primary image that captures the attention of the audience(consumer) is the picture of the stunned young woman with her mouthopened wide. She’s in anticipation of a big sandwich that seems tobe coming from the darkness as only its part of its close up is inthe light and the other part in the dark. The image brings up anillusion of oral sex in some viewers evoking some strong reaction.Further, the image creates a fantasy of all what a man has to do isto hold the BK seven inch long sandwich and an attractive young womanwill have the urge to have sex with him.
Most people don’t think consciously in that way, but the idea stilllingers somewhere at the back of their minds. The advert is somehowdemeaning to both men and women. The advert portrays the woman in thepicture as a sexual object (Marques). The woman’s act of eating theseven-inch sandwich resembles the act of performing oral sex by afemale on a male counterpart. The woman open mouth widely gazed eyesare noted to look like a blow-up doll used primarily for the purposeof sexual satisfaction. The woman eyes in the ad are not even staringat the sandwich but rather something beyond in the darkness that ispast the sandwich maybe a man holding the sandwich. The ad isdegrading to women and ineffective regarding the female perspectiveof the advert. On the other hand, the advert creates the idea in aman’s mind that size matters and gauging from the shock of thewoman in the advert, a seven-inch sandwich seems to attract the lady.It gives an illusion that those men who are not endowed regardingtheir genitalia will not attract the attractive females who appear tobe moved by a bigger sandwich.
The wordings used in the advert also evoke some emotions as they arealso sexual. The wordings “IT WILL BLOW YOUR MIND AWAY” is rathersexual as the advertiser tries to say that if you consume the newburger it will blow your mind and this can be linked to the pleasurederived from the sexual activity. Further, the words at the top rightcorner “it just tastes better” can be viewed innocentlyconcerning the taste of the burger, however, when they are linkedwith the woman’s picture, oral sexual emotions can be evoked. Atthe bottom of the advert the text “fill your desire with somethinglong juicy …” is quite controversial too. The longevity of theburger has nothing to do with the taste or quality but rathersuggestive in a sexual way when accompanied by the images.
The name of the product should also be considered. To an individualwho is unfamiliar with Burger King and the advert, the title “BKSUPER SEVEN INCHER” can evoke both sexual and nonsexual emotions.The audience might end up getting the wrong or the right impressionof the advert. The two images of the burger are different in theirsizes. The one at the bottom of the ad looks bigger than the othernext to the woman which is longer and thinner creating suggestivevisualizations in the mind of the audience.
The advert also lacks the health aspects about the burger. Thenutritional value of the burger is not mentioned in the advert.Burgers in the recent past have been linked to serious health riskssuch as obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure. According to astudy done at the University of California Los Angeles, eating one ofthe burgers daily for at least two months will lead to a decrease inone’s life expectancy.
The advert sparked a lot of conversations from around the world whichcan be seen to be both good and bad for Burger King. The advert onone side has created more awareness about the burger king and its newproduct. The $6.25 meal also offers a better deal for theircustomers. The advert also faced its downside because the model whowas used in the advert claimed that the picture was used without herconsent (Ads and Commercials). The Burger King management furtherreleased a press statement saying they had the rights to the pictureand refused to name the advertising agency that was involved sayingit wasn’t theirs.
The idea that sex sells applies only to a particular point until theadvert is over sexual and that could cause the audience to havesecond thoughts. The advert resulted in getting more attention tothe Burger King firm, but it was not effective in selling theproduct. For sexual adverts to be successful, they should be subtleand focus on subliminal message (Chang and Chien) which should bedone by Burger King.
AdsAndCommercials. BURGER KING: ORAL SEX AD: "BK Super SevenIncher…..It`ll Blow Your Mind" Singapore Ad. (YouTube). (April20, 2013).
Chang, Chun-Tuan, and Chien-Hun Tseng. "Can sex sell bread? Theimpacts of sexual appeal type, product type, and sensation seeking."International Journal of Advertising 32.4 (2013): 559-585.
Klara, Robert. "Advertising`s shock troops." (2012): 26-27.
Marques, Olga. Womens’ Use of Sexually Explicit Materials:Making Meaning, Negotiating Contradictions, and Framing Resistance.Diss. Université d`Ottawa/University of Ottawa, 2014.