Hugh Hefner Does Lunch: Our 2nd Favorite Piece Of Media Porn -- November 2003
In trolling the blogosphere for reactions to the Hugh Hefner/Carl's Jr. burger commercial, what struck me most was a "fast food"-themed blog that insisted Hefner never bit the burger.
If you didn't see the commercial, it goes something like this: Hugh Hefner is sitting around in silk pajamas surrounded by three attractive young women. He says: "People always ask me: 'Hey, Hef. Do you have favorites?' I tell 'em, 'No -- It's not about that'." Then, the first woman says: "He can have anything he wants. I don't know how he makes the choice." The second says: "I feel for Hef. It's so hard to choose." The third one continues: "I don't know how he does it." After listening to the women, Hefner then responds: "I love 'em all. It just depends on what I'm in the mood for." At that point, Hefner bites into a hamburger while the announcer says: "Because some guys don't like the same thing night after night."
Or he appears to bite--which is why this commercial landed so high up on our "Best Media Porn of November" list.
Tailored specifically to men in about the 18-30 demographic, this ad connects not just on mental levels, but on multiple sensory levels. The ad does a very effective job punching different cognitive buttons (you can have whatever you want; it's there for the taking; women understand you have these needs). Like most seductive ads targeted to younger males, the ad is also stimulating visually, with the requisite cluster of girls serving as eye-candy. Where this ad makes the big impact, though, is in tying the mental and visual stimulation together with an appeal that combines a simple metaphor with a visceral, gustatory reaction.
It "sets the table" for these connections through the metaphor of women as food. It refines the metaphor to equate any and all women as food. Then it establishes this particular hamburger to represents any and all women of one's choice. Then, with the act of biting into the burger (by the godfather of sexual permissiveness, no less), it consummates the contract between these connections, virtually offering the male viewer the opportunity to taste the results.
I saw the ad once or twice, and I> thought Hefner took the bite. If he didn't, though, I am convinced you could screen this commercial for a hundred younger men, show it to them over-and-over, and not one would think Hefner didn't bite. Psychologically, it's predetermined.