So in the 70’s, marketers embraced the fact that sex can sell anything from shampoo to car batteries. And over the past several decades, we’ve been treated to an endless array of genetically altered babes and double entendres, so much so that we became numb to the obvious methods of product whoring. Those were good times, in retrospect, considering the skin-crawling fetishism of two current sandwich peddlers who have spoiled my appetite.
First up, let’s take a gander at Quizno’s “Toasty Torpedo.”
Um. Yeah, you heard right. A piece of electrical equipment with a HAL voice is seducing Scotty the sandwich maker. And apparently they have quite a history there, what with the whole “I want you to do something” oven request that sends Scott into the “Not doing that again...that burned” panic while he sadly looks down at his crotch.
And then the terrifying cry, “Put it in me, Scott!” followed by demands of over a foot of... Quizno’s flavor. And then more pillow talk between man and flaming hot appliance. What’s not to relate to?
Bizarre fetish aside, isn’t it interesting that Quizno’s and/or its agency partners opted against using a sultry female voice for the oven? They passed on all of the obvious “bun in the oven” jokes? In his commentary, Bob Sassone, television critic and fellow “Mad Men” blogger, calls it “the closest we’ll get to a gay porn flick in a mainstream sub shop ad.” Obviously, a deliberate move in an ad that puts Quizno’s 12-incher against the Subway Five Dollar Footlong. Boys will be boys.
Quizno’s always has had a quirky, if incredibly uneven voice. They brought us an elderly woman randomly eating a five dollar bill and whatever in the hell these freakish critters are. But does this really advance the Quizno’s brand among mainstream America?
Let’s make a 180 degree change from the Quizno’s oven and check out Carl’s Jr.’s new burger spot featuring the former Mrs. Salman Rushdie, Padma Lakshmi.
Now there’s food porn in the traditional sense. Beautiful woman, unhinging her jaw and tonguing the sandwich. Lordy.
Blog commenters have had a lot to say. Some are peeved that the Lakshmi brand, largely created by sending t.v. chefs and their knives packing, is sullied by her “selling out” to a burger joint. Others are offended that an alleged Hindu vegetarian is shilling for ground beef. And others are all “woo woo” and hot and bothered. What I’m not finding is much dialogue on what struck me as so entirely obvious during the spot. Let’s rewind...
Right after Padma says “It reminds me of being in high school,” she visibly hikes up her skirt. Then the narrative continues with “...sneaking out before dinner to savor that sweet, spicy sauce and leaving no evidence behind.”
Look alive, people. This spot is entirely an ode to teen sex and has zero to do with hamburgers. Padma’s a 38-year-old Lolita, her gangly legs all sprawled out on the stoop and her skirt practically up over her head. Doesn’t that creep anyone else out? As much as the feminist in me wants to throw something, fine, the brand certainly knows how to play to its core customer base. And it’s a lot more subtle than its famous Paris Hilton spot.
Hell, it’s a Merchant Ivory production by comparison.
In this battle of sexual dimwits, I guess the winner has to be Carl’s Jr., just because it is in brand, yucky as it is. Besides, after the latest dalliance with Scotty, I'm not so interested in lovin' from the Quizno’s oven.