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 V.14 No.35 | September 1 - 7, 2005 

Idiot Box

Ad Nauseum

BK loves BJ?

Aside from that hour you spent huffing Vick's VapoRub beside a Walgreen's dumpster before your last Narcotics Anonymous meeting, have you ever had what the 12-steppers call “a moment of clarity”? You know what I'm talking about--one of those tiny tremors in time where you suddenly see it all and you think, “Good lord, am I the only sane person on Earth?” ... I have them all the damn time.

For the last month or so, I--and most of America by extension--have been subjected to Burger King's ubiquitous ad campaign for “chicken fries.” Frightening inedibility of the alleged “food” product aside, the television commercials have crossed new boundaries of idiocy and raunch and are--I believe--contributing to the wholesale degeneration of American society as surely as the vomitoriums and coliseums of ancient Rome contributed to that once great empire's death.

The commercials, in case you've blocked them from your memory, feature a cartoonish heavy metal band done up in the style of such notorious rap metal bands as Insane Clown Posse, Mudvayne and Slipknot. Instead of dreadlocked monster clown headgear, the members of Burger King's faux band wear chicken-shaped masks. That hasn't stopped Slipknot from filing a lawsuit claiming copyright infringement. But that's beside the point.

The point is that the commercials feature so many thuddingly obvious double entendres that they barely constitute a single entendre when combined into one gelatinous mass. The name of the band, for starters, is Coq Roq. All I can picture is some young Madison Avenue executive, promoted barely a year out of his internship because he's in the right demographic, sniggering into his vente mochachino, thinking, “God, I can't believe they fell for it. Coq Roq. Hee-hee. Coq Rock!”

I'm assuming that the wizened overlords of the ad agency were clueless as to the non-chicken-based meanings of the word “cock.” So, when the name Coq Roq failed to raise an eyebrow, our young executive decided to see how far he could push the envelope. The hit song that the band performs during its chicken-hawking gig? “Bob Your Head.” Again, were the ad agency bosses, the commercial makers and everyone at Burger King so chicken-centric that the term “bob your head” merely conjured up images of happily clucking chickens and not kneepad-wearing groupies clustered backstage at a Van Halen concert?

But Coq Roq and their hit “Bob Your Head” wasn't enough. A website was soon fashioned for the phony band. Log on to coqroq.com, and you can see such sights as a mocked-up backstage Polaroid featuring scantily clad women with the caption, “Groupies love Coq.” At least you could until assorted online blogs started making fun of the campaign. The “Groupies love Coq” gag was considered one step over the line and summarily erased from the website.

Still, the campaign rages on. Is Burger King perpetuating an intentionally raunchy peon to oral sex merely to attract the attentions of dirty-minded schoolboys who might actually want a chicken snack that is “stripped down, tenderized and amplifried”? Or is everybody in the fast-food business simply dumber than a bunch of chickens with their heads cut off?

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