By Geddy Cahoon
The idea of fast food companies promoting a superhero flick isn't exactly a groundbreaking idea. In fact, you'd probably find it more out of the ordinary if joints like Burger King and McDonald's DIDN'T feature toys and commercials plugging the new Batman movie. However, as fate would have it, some ad promotions just... Don't work. Maybe the movie's target audience doesn't buy Happy Meals. Maybe the TV ad campaign just doesn't do the promotion justice. Or maybe - Just maybe - the campaign is so insulting, so ridiculous, and so.... Well, downright stupid, that there's no way it should have made it past the "idea" stage, let alone become a full blown movie tie-in.
Such is the case with the new promotion from Carl's Jr./Hardee's: Dress up like Spider-Man, get a free bacon burger. Now, it sounds innocuous enough. But I think it speaks volumes about a bunch of corporate executives opinions regarding the dignity their customers possess.
So hit the jump to read my venomous and ridiculous overreaction to a simple movie/fast food restaurant tie-in!
Alright, I think first thing's first, I need to address the elephant in the room here: What is Carl's Jr./Hardee's? I've lived in the Pennsylvania/New Jersey area my entire life, and I've never seen one. According to the always accurate Wikipedia, Carl's Jr. is the #5 fast food joint in the United States. But, it's primarily located in the Western/South Western US. Well, that explains why I've never seen one. Regardless of their ranking on the fast food tier list, Carl's Jr. seems to be squarely outside the realm of pop culture awareness that we usually associate with chains like McDonald's and Wendy's. You won't be hearing Carl's Jr. referenced on a show like Family Guy, is what I'm saying here.
Family Guy is of course loyal only to the mighty McDonald's.
Which kind of makes the fact that Carl's Jr. is, far as I can tell, the only fast food chain at this point in time to actively advertise any kind of tie in with the upcoming and much anticipated Amazing Spider-Man film. Now, I will stray from referencing my opinion on the film in this article. Not because I'm leaning any one way regarding whether I think it'll be good or bad. Mostly because... I kind of don't care. I like Spider-Man, don't get me wrong. But I'm just not crazy about him the way I love some other comics and characters. Well anyway, my opinion isn't really the one that matters here. It's the opinion of the masses who adore superhero movies that matters. And people seem excited about the film. Which, again, makes it all the more strange that Carl's Jr., of all places, has their grubby little paws on the film as of now.
Pictured: The first Google Image result for "Grubby Little Paws," and quite possibly an accurate representation of what goes on inside a Carl's Jr.
You'd think that with a character as well-known in America's pop culture landscape as this, we'd have an equally well-known company promoting the film. There's always the possibility that other companies will be distributing toys and such; I'm not really sure how the rights work for something like this. But you'd think that if one of the more well-known companies also had access to the film for advertising purposes, they'd hurry up and get a fucking commercial out there, especially since Carl's Jr. is giving away free food! And yes, that is the basis of the promotion, as the overjoyed fellow pictured at the beginning of this article so adequately illustrates: Come to the restaurant dressed as Spider-Man, get a FREE bacon burger!
Look at how fucking excited he is with his undoubtedly more-expensive-than-the-burger-itself "Amazing Spider-Man" costume...
Now, I don't know about you, but I see myriad problems with this. The first of course, is that not many people (In my area, at least) know what Carl's Jr. is. At the very most, they have some vague idea that it's a food serving establishment. But, that is not the least of the problems on display here. Let's run down a few of the issues, shall we? First of all, who has a Spider-Man costume on them? One that actually fits. Yeah, assumedly not many of you. So you'd probably have to buy a costume if you wanted to partake in this fantastic promotion. That should be a red-flag right there. How much do you think a Spider-Man costume costs? I'll give you a hint: More than the fucking bacon burger. With the money it'll take to hunt down a REAL costume, you could buy MULTIPLE bacon burgers. Is it really worth it? This hot chick seems to think so. It's "Jumping in the air and fist-pumping" worth it.
That burger could be your dick if you just come down dressed as Spider-Man.
Now, you could obviously make your own homemade costume if you want free shit that badly. But that prospect, as I see it, is the real crux of the problem here. Who is so desperate for free meat, who so longingly desires a free burger that, let's be honest, doesn't even look that appetizing, that they would come down to the fast food joint dressed in a homemade Spider-Man costume?! That insults me on so many levels, and I would never even consider considering doing something like this. A bunch of corporate higher ups and ad execs got together and decided that they could put a price on the dignity of their customers. Even if you do own a real Spider-Man costume, they're VERY specific about the "No Masks" rule. So you're really not even dressing as "Spider-Man." You're dressing as "Guy in Spider-Man Costume." All for one free hamburger. It may seem like I'm overreacting a bit here, but this really offends me. On top of just seeming like a blatant disregard for human dignity, I also feel a twinge of anger as a comic fan. I feel like they're saying "Hey pal, wanna dress up as your favorite super hero? That's great. We'll even throw a free burger your way."
This little asshole isn't getting shit until he loses the mask.
I feel like I'm being pandered to and patronized. I don't appreciate being patronized. The burger offered here costs $3.59. Is that what you're worth? Do yourself and your fellow man a favor and skip this promotion if there's a Carl's Jr. near you. But if you don't have a problem with this promotion, look at it like this: Maybe I'm just an asshole. Maybe it's just a way for people to have a little fun, get some free food, and get excited about an upcoming film that they're surely going to enjoy, and I'm just taking it wrong because I enjoy criticizing things that bring others joy.
Maybe I'm just an insufferable, unpleasable prick...
..... Nah, probably not.
I'm Nerd World Country's Geddy Cahoon, and until next time, thanks for reading!