Hooters New Ad Campaign Feeds Fat-Phobia

Photo credit: Andrew F. Kazmierski / Shutterstock.com


Hooters has decided to get a lot more in your face. And that’s not as nearly as enjoyable as it sounds.

In its new Guy Fieri-speak “step into awesome” campaign, the mammarily themed chain, not universally prized for its subtlety, takes aim at the competition – the sad, pathetic, probably full of fatties competition – and ushers you into a paradise of boobs, wings and joy.

The campaign, created by Skiver, features three new ads, two of which are already posted on YouTube. Hooters CMO Dave Henninger describes their new theme as showing the world what a “liberating experience” their “restaurants” are. In one, a tragic victim of a Chipotle-like burrito bar contemplates the pale, sad, droopy column of meat in his hand — I couldn’t make this up if I tried. But in his mind, he goes to his happy place, flanked by his friends – a lady and a black man! – a land where girls smile at him and give him cardiac-inducing-size plates of onion rings and burgers, and salads that look they might actually give your grandchildren high cholesterol. And where Wednesday is wings day! Hooters would like you to know that they’re “boneless” — well, the chicken wings, anyway. Probably the only boneless offering you’ll ever get from Hooters. AM I RIGHT?

In another ad, a trio of frightened-looking males is gathered at a sports bar. One of them gives a snarky elbow to another as a fat chick thunders by in her football jersey, and eyes are rolled. Then, an assembly of other overweight patrons of both sexes jump into the picture, yelling and waving their giant foam fingers all over the place. But in their mind palaces, they are whisked to Hooters, a place of beer where they can watch the game and have big-breasted women laugh at their jokes unencumbered by the horror of regular people.

Skiver’s CEO Jeremy Skiver told Forbes this week, “We wanted to show exactly what happens inside the walls of Hooters, and remind people familiar with the brand of how awesome the experience is.” And the company says, with an apparent straight face, that the campaign is designed to showcase its “innovations.”  I did not know that putting a set of jugs in a tank top and aiming a camera at them was innovative, but keep up the good work, guys.

It’s one thing to be in the business of selling boobs and wings; I get that that’s what Hooters is all about. But it’s another to do it while depicting others – women especially – as props to be mocked. I thought boobs and wings pretty much sold themselves. Does Hooters really have to peddle them at the expense of the overweight? Because when I see that, I feel like stepped in something all right, but I wouldn’t call it awesome.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

Close