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Opening Arguments

Supersized sensitivity

Who are they kidding?

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A leading restaurant association has called for the cancellation of a TV commercial featuring Britney Spears' estranged husband, Kevin Federline, as a failed rap star working in a fast-food eatery.

In a 30-second ad for Nationwide Insurance, Federline is shown dreaming he is a rap star but then snaps out of it to face reality -- he's working at a burger restaurant.

The commercial is due to be aired during the National Football League's Super Bowl championship on Sunday, February 4, advertising's biggest televised sporting event of the year. Last year's Super Bowl drew more than 90 million viewers.

But the National Restaurant Association's Chief Executive Steven Anderson has written to Nationwide saying the ad leaves the impression that working in a restaurant is demeaning and unpleasant and asking the commercial to be dumped.

"An ad such as this would be a strong and a direct insult to the 12.8 million Americans who work in the restaurant industry," wrote Anderson, head of the association that represents 935,000 U.S. restaurants. "Developing creative concepts that accomplish the marketing strategies for a product should not require denigrating another industry."

As we all know, only highly motivated careerists carefully plotting their economic futures show up at the fast-food windows to ask us if we want fries with that. How dare Nationwide Insurance insult them.

Posted in: Food and Drink


brian stouder
Thu, 01/25/2007 - 6:34am

If we go down this road, Capital One commercials seem to indicate that aerial pesticide applicators are toothless, semi-literate morons, which would be offensive to a whole industry...and that hopping freight train cars for free travel is a viable option - which makes my safety-conscious brother (who proudly works for Norfolk Southern) cringe every time he sees it.

Beer commercials perpetuate any number of stereotypes about young men (lazy, self centered, unserious horn dogs) - which might be construed as offensive, even despite that they're true!

Oh well - Nationwide might get their message shown for free now, and opt out of the enormous expense of running it during the Big Game (trademark pending)...so they oughta be 'lovin' it' (registered trademark of McD)

Dave White
Thu, 01/25/2007 - 10:03am

It's an everything-offends-somebody sort of world now and the only way to correct it is to ban all entertainment, advertising, media, for crying out loud, some of the drivers I see offend me so driving should be banned, too. And everything else.

What an increasingly ridiculous world we are living in.

Thu, 01/25/2007 - 1:06pm

Speaking of fastfood, does anyone besides me find the Burger King ads more than midly strange.....

Oh, and that reminds me of this political comment I just found online:

He is a longtime resident of Fort Wayne. He has been an activist on issues such as HIV/AIDS and has made numerous trips to Indianapolis to lobby on HIV/AIDS

brian stouder
Thu, 01/25/2007 - 1:23pm

Burger King's ads are indeed strange (dad-hamburger is offering kid-hamburger extra 'protection' for him to keep in his wallet???!) -

and I suspect it is the same ad agency that does the Hardees ads...which range from stupid to repulsive (to me, at least)

Steve Towsley
Thu, 01/25/2007 - 5:01pm

I agree the current run of Burger King ads is irritating and I frequently mute them to minimize my annoyance -- I assume they must appeal to the target age group who are suckers for dumb humor from Jackass to what-have-you.

In the matter of dumping on employment at fast food restaurants, I was wondering when the worm would finally turn. They have been, deservedly or not, the butt of jokes for a very long time. I guess now, when Wal-Mart is defending its viable (but largely imaginary) reputation as an employer of good middle class Americans, the fast food people have decided their jobs are at least as good, maybe better.

Frankly, I'm not sure I know how to argue that point, if Wal-Mart is the yardstick.