SpongeBob and Square Butts: Yet Another Controversial Burger King Ad

Last Updated Apr 16, 2009 4:52 PM EDT

Burger King has done it again. Angry parents and the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood are protesting a new ad featuring SpongeBob SquarePants and the Burger King icon dancing to a new version of one hit wonder Sir Mix-A-Lot's "Baby Got Back."

The original begins "I like big butts and I cannot lie" but in this version it's "square butts" that Mix-A-Lot isn't going to lie about. The commercial features gyrating women in outfits that give them "a butt with sharp right angles."

The commercial has been criticized as being sexist and inappropriately sexual, especially considering that SpongeBob's fan base includes pre-schoolers. But Burger King and SpongeBob creator Nickelodeon both insist the ad is targeted at adults, while different, more kid-friendly SpongeBob ads are running during children's programming.

Controversy is nothing new for Burger King -- or its ad agency. The chain has run a series of provocative promotions that have sparked ire but also attracted the company tons of free publicity -- most recently, its Whopper Sacrifice Facebook application, in which you could get a free whopper by deleting ten friends.

Burger King also got flack for its Whopper Virgin ads, in which people in remote areas of the world were given their first fast food hamburger. And Flame, Burger King's burger-scented body spray, didn't make people angry, but it did inspire a lot of ridicule -- though on the other hand, so many people bought it, Burger King brought it back for Valentine's Day.

In addition to the 30-second "Square Butt" spot, Burger King produced a full-length music video featuring the creepy Burger King, SpongeBob and a bunch of dancing women.

Related article from BNET Advertising: Burger King Uses SpongeBob in Ads Despite Promise To "Reduce" Use of Cartoons Promoting Kids' Meals

  • Katherine Glover