The idea for this post has been in my head for a year now. Let me give a quick back story to get you all up to speed.
No secret if you’ve been reading here for a while: our family, and particularly my two oldest boys, are die-hard Cardinals fans. Until you’re living with people who love a team like these boys of mine do, you can’t fully understand how consuming and fun this can be.
Opening Day is greeted with holiday-like anticipation. I very clearly remember it last year, the boys coming home after school to watch the first game of the season. And then, I remember me being appalled, and having a chat with Matt, and us having to institute a “mute the commercials” rule in our house.
Why, you ask? Well, here it is.
Clearly, muting the television does little to prevent people from seeing this, but our hope was that with the tv muted, at least the music wouldn’t catch their attention to look at the screen. And if one of us was sitting watching a game with them, we’d change the channel when it came on.
Plus, of course, we explained what was wrong with it.
But hello, we all know how visual males are (that is not a put-down; it’s truth). In preparation for writing this post, I told the boys what I was doing (in appropriate terms), and asked them, out of curiosity, if they knew which commercial caused us to have to mute the TV starting last year. Immediately, both of them, via gestures and a few words, identified the Hardee’s Miss Turkey commercial. Ugh.
Last spring, I was upset about this…but I had this feeling that I’m just one mom, how much of a difference can I make, etc, etc. And I didn’t do anything about it.
Enter this new commercial from Hardee’s, released several weeks ago. Be warned, if you’ve not seen it, that your children should not be anywhere near.
If that appeared in the middle of a G or PG movie, parents would be incensed, right? And one glimpse at their FB page a few weeks ago when I started working on all of this confirmed that I wasn’t alone: I looked at probably 100 comments, and 98 of them were about that commercial, with all but 2 of those being disgusted by it.
I was. And I was definitely worried that pretty soon, that commercial was going to show up in the middle of Cardinals broadcasts on Fox Sports Midwest, given their track record.
So this year I decided, “so what? So what if I’m the only one who complains about this? I’m going to get in touch with people and let them know what I think.” People at Fox Sports Midwest, people at Hardee’s, and people at the Cardinals. I feared a major uphill battle, and envisioned asking my readers to help me storm the emails/phones of the people in charge.
However, after some help from my friend Aimee in tracking down the Hardee’s ad agency (and encouragement to proceed with this project!!), I found out that wouldn’t be necessary.
After contacting the ad agency, they put me in touch directly with Hardee’s PR manager, who is here in StL. I emailed her my concerns. While waiting for a response from her, I uncovered some contacts at Fox Sports Midwest, as well as a whole slew of people in PR/media at the Cardinals, and emailed all of them, letting them know I was a mom, Cardinals fan, and blogger, concerned about this commercial airing, and that I’d love to meet with them as I was local, etc.
I planned to give them a couple of days, just to see if anyone would follow up via email, and if not, I’d give them a call.
Lo and behold, I heard not only from someone at Fox Sports Midwest (he responded within hours), but also from the Hardee’s contact again (and she was cc’ing the PR Director at the Cardinals on her reply) that the Kate Upton ad would NOT be airing on any pre-season or in-season Cardinals games! EDITED TO ADD: this sadly did not end up being the case throughout the season. Shocking, right?
Enter me, jumping for joy for about 8 seconds, and sending an email of thanks, then thinking about it for a minute, and emailing the Hardee’s contact again, asking exactly which commercial would be airing instead. And wouldn’t you know, I didn’t hear back from her.
So I’m still holding my breath, waiting to see what will air today during the game (post script: the first game was on ESPN, and I wasn’t home to watch it, so Friday will be the real test), praying it’s not horribly inappropriate. While I’m not aiming to shelter my kids from everything (I mean, they attend public school and ride the bus, for crying out loud), this was way over the line for me and has no place being seen by children.
Interestingly, in her initial response to my concern, the Hardee’s PR gal said this:
We do adopt a very creative approach to our advertising. It is intended to communicate the core message of our premium quality food to our target audience of Young, Hungry Guys. We don’t aim to exclude or offend any other groups with our efforts, but merely to appeal and amuse a very specific audience. We understand that not everyone may view our advertising the same way, so we respect all views and do welcome comments and feedback.
Really? “Creative?” That almost leaves me speechless.
Except that I will say this: we decided several years ago to boycott Hardee’s, when their ad campaigns turned so nasty, starting with Paris Hilton. It’s really the only way I can think of to let them know we hate their advertising. I’d encourage you to do the same if you haven’t already.
Enough of that…GO CARDINALS! We are so excited that baseball season is here! World Series win #12 in 2012 has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?