Jack’s Big Rip-Off, Indeed
Jack in the Box is running a promotion, as most fast food chains do, which involves peeling stickers off of the sides of their soft drink cups and possibly winning prizes. The incredulity expressed by “Jack” in the commercial has to do with the fact that our culture is so sexualized that his company can’t even run a contest and call it “Big Rip-Off” without people misinterpreting that to mean that one must rip off one’s clothing in order to play.
Why is the culture so sexualized? Because of advertisements like this one. It is true that popular advertising reflects what already exists in the culture, but beyond a certain point it becomes part of the culture, and the two form a symbiotic relationship. Jack in the Box can hide all it wants behind a feigned incredulousness, but that they are willing to use something they claim to despise in order to promote their promotion, and thus sell soft drinks, proves that they aren’t really as bothered by it as they say they are. This commercial is a type of gallows humor. Jack in the Box is laughing at the hypersexualized culture not because they pity it, but because, choosing to become a part of it, they see no escape from it.
This commercial is yet another instance of a company attempting to sell it’s products not based upon their value, but by trying to become friends with the customer. Trying to get the consumer to believe that the people who are selling it are just like them. To get him to think something along the lines of “these are my kind of people, so that must be my kind of restaurant. That must be the kind of food I think tastes good.” Companies have to do this because the notion that any type of productive person is your kind of person (assuming you’re one too) – even if you don’t happen to need or prefer his particular product – is not a prevalent one.
The fast food industry, in particular, seems to employ this tactic much more frequently than do other industries. Why that is is an interesting question to ponder.