The "Jack's Bowls" ad sparks controversy in social media with "bowls" sounding like "balls" and not the bouncy kind. Was this play on words offensive or a harmless immature joke? Maybe releasing it during the #MeToo movement was not such a good idea.
In August 2018, wigs were snatched by Jack in the Box’s risky Jack’s Bowls commercial from Twitter users. Promoting a new menu item, the ad starts with Jack trashing other fast-food chains because all they sell are the same boring old burgers. He adds on how Jack in the Box is, “the only one with the bowls *holds up two bowls* to do something different.” In what seems like an office, Jack points out and compliments the staff’s “bowls”, with the workers joining in shortly after doing the same. The ad is abruptly paused by an executive telling Jack about how their lawyers are not too happy about the marketing campaign he released. Jack seems to completely miss the point as to why that is. He starts to suggest “better” descriptions to advertise the teriyaki bowls but does not let go of the actual problematic word, “bowls”. Seconds later, Jack asks if his billboard is acceptable. The camera pans right and reveals a billboard with Jack, the new dish, and plastered in big bold letters, “ENJOY MY BOWLS”. So done with Jack, the executive shakes his head in frustration.
Now here is the tea… If you have not caught on yet, “bowls” is a play on words with “balls” A.K.A slang for testicles. Naturally, Twitter users put in their two cents, sparking some controversy. User @RustyGonzo71 says, “What’s not OK, especially after all the tales of hostile work environments that have been highlighted by the #MeToo movement, is an ad that celebrates sexual innuendo in the workplace, which is exactly what Jack in the Box and agency David&Goliath have done with a new ad...” The #MeToo movement, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, is an online based “campaign that supports the survivors of sexual abuse, assault and harassment.”
During that time, the wave of the #MeToo movement had taken over the internet. Another disturbed user, @SocialMeTexas writes, “Consider the #MeToo awareness and movement, against major brands that are still using highly sexualized video and images to propel sales. Jack In The Box earned a 'slap' for an advertisement that alluded to workplace harassment. Bad idea…” David Griner, ADWeek editor, wrote an article critiquing the commercial, titled Jack in the Box Just Launched One of the Most Tone-Deaf Ads of the #MeToo Era. Griner goes off and argues, “What’s not OK, especially after all the tales of hostile work environments that have been highlighted by the #MeToo movement, is an ad that celebrates sexual innuendo in the workplace, which is exactly what Jack in the Box and agency David&Goliath have done with a new ad called “Jack’s Bowls.” After reading this, users even created their own hashtag siding with Griner, “#JackOffTheInternet”. @SolomonModern tweets, “... Let's get this going! Help me #JackOffTheInternet #MeToo”.
Switching perspectives, those who were offended were described as simply being salty AF. This other side of the spectrum deemed it as nothing but a childish joke and laughed along. Some were even confused as to why people did not like it. Twitter user @babin_quinn questions her followers asking, “Anybody else wondering why the #MeToo movement is getting upset about a frickin jack in the box commercial? Dudes, it’s a commercial. You people have no sense of humor. Don’t get me wrong, #metoo is a good movement. But dirty humor will always be here, so you might as well laugh.” Others, like @JaimsVanDerBeek, had no chill and kept the joke going, “In the new Jack N The Box commercial Jack refers to his new teriyaki bowls in various puns to refer to his balls, his testicles. The commercial also shows ad execs saying how some may find the jokes offensive. Personally? I laughed my bowls off.”
Should this commercial really come as a surprise though? Jack in the Box’s commercials have a reputation for being silly, “tongue-in-cheek” ones. I mean sis, they aired one about a stoner craving munchies, imagining what it would be like if their hands were spoons. And can we PLEASE talk about the recent commercial they released, on December 3rd, 2018, named Do the Pannido™, where a bunch of construction workers start twerking.
So, do you channel your inner childish self or are you grown, grown?