The Parents Television Council does not like the tenor of ads for a Hardees menu item, and found sympathetic ears from one of the restaurant chain’s largest franchise operators. But the chain is sticking to its message. Boddie-Noell Enterprises, which operates in Virginia, Kentucky and the Carolinas, is refusing to run the spots, which involves patrons trying to name its new biscuit holes in what PTC describes as “brainless,” “tasteless” and “risqué.”
Among the creative/tasteless names for the biscuit holes are A-holes, B-holes, sweet balls and “bisticals.”
“There is no possible way that this brainless Biscuit Hole promotion fits in with the personal and community decency standards espoused by Hardee’s restaurants across the nation and their hard-working owners,” said PTC’s Tim Winter.
Boddie-Noell’s Ben Mayo Boddie agreed, saying “Why in heavens name does Hardee’s Food Systems and Mendelsohn Zien Advertising want to put Hardee’s in a category that diminishes not only the product but the brand itself?”
Hardees, however, is standing behind the campaign, saying that it realizes not everybody will appreciate the humor in the ads. However, it thinks the target audience, “Young, Hungry Guys,” will find it funny. They also point out that the ad is not scheduled to run anywhere prior to 9PM. It said franchisees are completely free to decline participation.
RBR/TVBR observation: There are some who might argue that if brainless and tasteless programming were to be eliminated from the airwaves, there might not be much programming left to air. But ultimately, this case demonstrates the futility of banning certain words, since the creative community is very capable of using acceptable words to get the allegedly unacceptable message across. So we might just as well give up this futile battle and acknowledge the wisdom of the First Amendment.