Various bits of flotsam that washed up on our computers, before we moved to a better blog system in November 2004. Now a repository for YouTube videos and testing new tools. Go to for more recent content.

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Girthy weiners

Seth Stevenson: Ads That Make You Go Ew - Who buys hot dogs because they're "girthy":
"The spot: An obese man is tending a barbecue grill. He's cooking some Ball Park Franks. He says he likes his hot dogs "girthy." He keeps repeating that word—claiming he likes "the way it rolls off my tongue"—as he holds the frank up to his mouth; issues a guttural moan; and wraps his lips around the big, swinging dog. In all, he says "girthy" a full seven times. "


Especially when it gets put in a hot dog commercial. Repeated over and over, in a lascivious tone. Followed by satisfied grunting. We have to face it: Hot dogs—sometimes called "wieners"—are a little bit phallic. So, wouldn't you try to avoid using words that bring this to the fore?

I've no doubt that many hot dog consumers also perform fellatio. And more power to them. But do they really wish to contemplate this act while noshing on a frank at a barbecue? Also, are they Ball Park's target demographic? In a corporate press release, spokesman "Frank" is described as a "straight-talking, All-American" guy who "believes in red meat, cold beer, [and] spectator sports …" I hate labels, but this sounds like your classic straight dude. Not so much a fellatiator.

In the end, we're left with two possibilities. The first is that Ball Park, and their ad agency, were unaware of the connotation. I can imagine how this might happen. Were I at the planning meeting where this ad was first pitched, as, like, a junior executive or something, I would not want to be the guy who brought up penises. So, maybe no one brought it up.

The other possibility is that Ball Park knows exactly what it's doing. That somehow consumer research has proven that folks like the hot dog/penis connection. It must have been a doozy of a focus group.


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