Paris Hilton Ad Regarded as “Too Hot”
As in a racy music video, a scantily clad Paris Hilton cavorts with a water hose as she washes a black Bentley, while singer Eleni Mandell’s sultry version of Cole Porter’s “I Love Paris” pulsates throughout.
After a sensuous sudsing of the Bentley and herself, Hilton takes a bite out of a new Carl’s Jr. hamburger. Hilton’s image then fades to a tagline echoing the reality TV star’s two-word mantra: “That’s hot.”
Perhaps a little too hot.
Since premiering late last week, the Hilton burger commercial is getting the kind of attention Carl’s Jr. wanted. But the ad’s blatant sexual overtones are getting under the skin of critics, who say it sets a new low in TV advertising.
“This commercial is basically soft-core porn,” said Melissa Caldwell, research director for the Parents Television Council. “It’s inappropriate for television.”
The Los Angeles-based advocacy group plans to mobilize its more than 1 million members to protest and is considering petitioning the Federal Communications Commission for a ruling on whether the advertisements are indecent.
For parent company CKE Restaurants Inc. of Carpinteria, Hilton has proved an effective way to get attention for the spicy new burger she was hired to sell.
The company said that its website even crashed on Friday as people clamored to view an expanded version of the commercial.
Carl’s Jr. marketing chief Brad Haley was unavailable for comment Monday. In a promotional video on the company’s website, he explained the concept as: “Great-looking actress, great-looking car, great-looking burger, that’s pretty much the idea.”
Claudia Caplan, chief marketing officer for Mendelsohn Zein Advertising in Los Angeles, said the agency designed the commercial to play off Hilton’s notoriety and grab the attention of Carl’s Jr.’s target demographic of 18-to-34-year-old men.
“Look, we’re never going to have McDonald’s advertising budget or Burger King’s budget,” Caplan said. “Whatever we do has to have an effect that is multiplied over several platforms. It needs to be more than just a television commercial.”
Sex sells; critics express outrage; there’s no such thing as bad publicity; etc. Wow. Breaking news. Bring out the police siren.