Jack in the Box surely saw the backlash coming. In a controversial new TV ad, mascot Jack is told "the lawyers aren't comfortable" with a pun-filled marketing campaign linking the burger chain's new teriyaki bowls to another term for testicles. "I'm the one with the bowls to serve something different," Jack says, before complimenting the "nice bowls" of his male employees. Per USA Today, the chain and ad agency David & Goliath say the spot is "simply a creative and humorous expression around the teriyaki bowl product" from "a brand known by its fans for its tongue-in-cheek, playful sense of humor." But that's not AdWeek writer David Griner's take in an article headlined, "Jack in the Box Just Launched One of the Most Tone-Deaf Ads of the #MeToo Era."
"Yes, juvenile humor is still OK," Griner notes. "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." Indeed, the ad set in the office is "basically a minute of incessant genital jokes," Griner writes. Several Twitter users agree with his criticism: "I feel like I just got sexually harassed by a Jack in the Box ad," one writes. "This is simply not the right time," adds another, per Fox News. Others say the ad is pee-your-pants funny and people should lighten up. Adds Jack in the Box: "This ad is not diminishing any movement, and we stand firmly against any form of harassment and value those who have the guts to combat it."