Ever since the Hardee's folks got back to basics and started making Thickburgers, I have been an advocate of their products. When I grill burgers at home, they are never less than 0.5 pounds, unless requested, because I'm American, and I like to go overboard on food. The Hardee's ad geniuses, however, have started to lose me with a couple of their more recent campaigns, and I'm torn about continuing to support them verbally and monetarily.
Late last year, there was a TV ad that emerged, depicting a bunch of guys gathering to watch what was obviously meant to be a NASCAR race. These manly men sat about an apartment, studying the race on television and gigging each other about their favorite drivers. Toward the end of the ad, the apartment dweller exits his kitchen with a cookie sheet in hand and asks, "Anybody want a fresh-baked biscuit?"
Whereupon the other "real men" only study him as if he were a giant insect who had just stepped from a worm-hole in the space-time continuum, spouting the famous soliloquy from Macbeth. The omnipotent commercial-voice then says, "Guys don't bake," and they encourage everyone to rush to Hardee's for their delicious breakfast foods.
They lost me here. "Guys don't bake?" Since when? I bake! I bake biscuits! Then I make sausage gravy to slather over them and sit down to enjoy a fine breakfast, while many millions of folks make do with dry toast and tasteless coffee! My mother taught me to make drop biscuits (no measuring cups, mind you) when I was hanging out in the kitchen on summer mornings years ago, and the lesson took. It was years, and many times of failing before I finally was able to perfect the formula for sausage gravy. I consider this one of my great culinary triumphs. "Guys don't bake," indeed! And I could rant further, but let's move on to the second irritating advertisement.
This one depicts four "regular guys" sitting in a diner. Three of them have giant American sandwiches of one kind or another, while the fourth -- the odd man out -- has ordered the grilled cheese sandwich from the kids' menu. The hot waitress brings him a coloring book and crayons, and the ad makes a big deal of him drinking his juice from a tiny box while he munches his tiny sandwich. And his compatriots -- again -- study him with ludicrous curiosity, while the other hot chicks in the diner roll their eyes.
Then they push the new "grilled cheese" sandwich from Hardee's, which features a thick slab of beef, as well as a couple of slices of bacon. This sounds delicious, don't get me wrong; I have no problem with the product. But it's a bacon cheeseburger, not a grilled cheese sandwich. Am I missing something?
The point of these ads, of course, is to appeal to the testosterone-poisoning to which all men are prone. Their target-range, however, must not include guys in my age bracket, and this I do not understand. In general, we 50-ish guys have more money to burn than all those young, image-conscious types.
I was there once, you understand. In the early to mid-'80s, I owned and wore a white cotton sport coat with colorful T-shirts and khaki slacks. I had a pair of shades for which I had paid way too much to go with this ensemble, and I shaved infrequently at best. All of this in the ridiculous pursuit of trying to imitate Sonny Crockett, because I thought he was cool. So, yeah, I get it. But now I'm too old, grumpy and impatient to care. I also have an ugly tendency to do my own thinking.
If I were one of those "real men," sitting about the apartment and watching cars travel in a continuous left-turn circle, I would be on those biscuits like slime on a slug, asking, "Where's the butter and jelly? Got any honey?" If I were out with three friends (as if I had three friends who would bother to go eat with me), the last thing on my mind would be how they perceive my menu choices. I don't care what they think, which is what constitutes real man-ism, in my mind. If I wanted something to eat, but wasn't terribly hungry, a grilled cheese sandwich is a good option. I like grilled cheese sandwiches. If I want a bacon cheeseburger, that's what I'll get, but for God's sake call it what it is! Also, if the waitress were to bring me a coloring book and crayons, I would write, "Here's your tip," on the cover next to the nickel I left. I'm kind-a snarky that way.
When I'm hungry, image and cool will not fill my (larger than it used to be) stomach. And I want what I want; not what you want me to have. I'm odd and demanding that way, also.