Why I Won’t Be Using Frank’s Red Hot No Matter How Good It Is

I know, I know. I’m like King Canute trying to command the seas, or Grandpa Simpson, shaking his fist and shouting at clouds.  I don’t care. If the culture and societyare going to allow America to be coarsened beyond all reason, at least I’ll be able to say that I wasn’t complicit.

All of my posts on this topic are basically the same; I know it. Here are a few…

[T]he Kraft Heinz Company’s newest frozen meals brand, Devour, has been advertising its products with a TV ad in which a boss catches his employee becoming sexually aroused by his lunch, to which he applies a sexy spank with his fork. The ad’s tagline: “Food You Want to Fork.”

Kraft says the ad is aimed at men aged 25-35, so I guess that’s okay then. Everyone knows that demographic is made up of assholes—is that the theory?—and the best way to please them is to make the kind of juvenile sexual innuendo that we had in naughty songs like “Shaving Cream” about when I was 12. It’s so hilarious when people use a word that sounds like a dirty word in a context where it is obviously intentional, but don’t really say the word, because, see, its, like, not polite.  Got it. My sides are splitting.

…Here is what Ethics Alarms said in response to Heineken’s gay-themed vulgar ad about “flipping another man’s meat”:

‘There is no justification for polluting television and the culture with such ick, and it is irresponsible and disrespectful to TV audiences to do it…the useful and natural filter we used to have on language has been shot full of holes by too many high profile boors to mention, although the fact that one Presidential candidate is one of them doesn’t help.”

On the general topic of giving up any efforts to keep public discourse within civil boundaries, a January 2016 post concluded,

Does everybody want to live in a society where everyone from executives, pundits and actors to nannies, athletes and bank tellers are routinely spewing cunt,fuck, suck and motherfucker like Samuel L. Jackson on a bad day? That’s where we’re heading, That’s where we’re heading, if enough people don’t have the guts and common sense to say, and fast,”Oh, stop it. Learn to speak like an adult.”

Wonderful Pistachios uses “nuts” as a sexual innuendo, Booking.com uses “booking” to code “fucking,” and K-Mart thinks it’s funny to use “ship” to suggest “shit,” because who doesn’t want to think about shit? We make our own culture in the end, and if we want to live in a cultural pig sty, then that’s where we will live. Apparently no one cares, or not enough of us, anyway.

In 2015,  a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups commercial featured the tags “Women want like to make it last…Men are done in seconds…Typical.”  I wrote,

“Who decided that gratuitous sexual innuendo is inherently hilarious and appropriate in every context, at every moment? Well, no one yet. Again, it is the boors in ad agencies and clods in corporate boardrooms who are pushing us down this uncivil, impolite, needlessly sleazy path.  We can remind them that there are limits dictated by taste and decorum, or we can just shrug it off, part of the irreversible ratchet process called “defining deviancy down.”

Two years later, Volkswagen has Dean Martin crooning about “The Birds and the Bees” (Dean’s version above is better, a joy)  while we see a VW bouncing up and down as the couples who own it engage in vigorous sexual intercourse.

Now Frank’s Red Hot is being praised for it’s new, catchy slogan, originally uttered by an elderly actress (because old people being vulgar is always hilarious, for some reason): “I put that [shit} on everything.”

Here are four reasons why I would not allow a product that advertises itself like that to sit on my shelves:

1. The ad is lazy as well as crude. A 13-year-old could have come up with it. The marketplace should not reward such unprofessional conduct.

2.Foodstuffs that describe themselves as “shit,” even in jest, are not appetizing to me.

3. Companies actively trying to coarsen the culture should be shunned, not supported. If a campaign like this works, we will just see more of them.

4. I am insulted that any company or its ad agency thinks so little of my intelligence and taste that they would expect such a commercial to appeal to me. I’m also insulted on behalf of any other American consumer with a modicum of civility.





34 thoughts on “Why I Won’t Be Using Frank’s Red Hot No Matter How Good It Is

  1. They’re going after their demographic: Young, not very smart, jerky guys. The hot sauce demographic. The guys who see the commercial and whoop, “Now that there’s some funny-ass shit, Dog. Whoo-ee! I gotta get me some. You tell ’em, Granny!” Depressing, but half the world’s below the fiftieth percentile. It’s nothing new, see, eg., Pieter Bruegel.

        • You deserve a pass on that, OB; it’s damned hard to keep track of all of HRC’s bull$#!t.

          And WTF is it with X-Chromosomal Unit pols chugging barley pops? Don’t the know that that’s an EVIL White Y-Chromosomal Unit demographic?

          Do they think that beer drinkers are as gullible as effete, dialed in Brie, Chablis, & Wheat Grass Tea aficionados?

          They must, yet I don’t recall any of the former swallowing Ocasio-Cortez’s Four Pinocchio whopper of $21 Trillion in Pentagon pin money defraying her pipe dream of Medicare for All.

          • I have to say I never thought I’d live to see the day we’d have Commies in Congress. Of course, I never thought I’d live to see the day the U.S.S.R. simply collapsed or China would return to its capitalist roots. Go figure. I really think the U.S. is only about forty years from giving full blown communism a roll. Free stuff. Yeah! And all I have to do is go to this place and put an X next to somebody’s name? I’m in. The hell with going to school or working.

          • Brie is yummy, he mumbled softly to himself, especially smeared in cheezy hills to all four corners of a cracked-pepper-and-olive-oil Triscuit. mmmm

  2. I hate to be the bearer of bad news here but this isn’t a new slogan, it’s been on their bottles for as long as I can remember. The TV spots may be new, but the slogan has clearly been no hindrance to their sales.

    • We’ve had the granny sh*t on everything TV ads in Canada for what seems like 5 years. Nothing to see here. Move on I say.

      I am less fussed by this issue than lots of others. Wordplay like punning, and spoonerisms and cockney rhyming slang and double entendres and all sorts of silly bits and pieces has been around since the beginning and will continue to be around. Some of this humour is better than others. Some is highbrow and some lowbrow. Shaving cream was and is funny to most on a first hearing as it was well executed. When I introduced it to my young boys they got a kick out of it and moved on. I recall from Madagascar, the animated movie from 2005, that the word of choice was Shiitake mushrooms whenever granny’s hot sauce word was intended. I guess this was to appeal to the adults.

      I’m guessing that brands adopt this form of advertising as it appeals to a certain demographic that suits them and for others it does not appeal BUT most others won’t do much about that – they remember the brand and may buy it anyway. It also just raises the awareness of the brand as people talk about it, repeat it and dissect it. In this case, any publicity is good publicity.

  3. Actually, I think she’s saying, “I put that sauce on everything”. Since it’s bleeped out, people choose their own word based on the censor.

  4. We’re so far down the slippery slope of advertising vulgarity, the law of gravity (or it’s cultural equivalent) has taken over.

    In fact, I think we’d have to invent the advertising equivalent of antigravity to even slow it down, let a lone stop it. Down the [expletive deleted] hole we collectively go…

  5. I’d say it’s a reflection of the overall coarsening of culture, especially as it relates to language. I work in higher education and multiple times per week I hear the F-word uttered in public places. Sure, that’s students, but it’s a sign of the direction culture is heading.

  6. I share your disdain and distress at the continued coarsening of our culture. Alas I do not fit their demographic and don’t buy their product; I am 65 and prefer Texas Pete hot sauce anyway. I am also old enough to remember when Gorge Carlin had a whole comedy routine about the “Seven Words You Can’t Say On Television.” How quaint!

    • Any what are these words one shouldn’t say on television? What other places should one avoid saying these words? I’ve heard of such lists but have never seen any such lists. It would be helpful if the list was published widely so that everyone would know what words to avoid. I wonder if there are any words I would add or remove from the list.

  7. “I see no hope for the future of our people if they are dependent on frivolous youth of today, for certainly all youth are reckless beyond words… When I was young, we were taught to be discreet and respectful of elders, but the present youth are exceedingly disrespectful and impatient of restraint”.
    (Hesiod, 8th century BC)

      • Actually “Shaving Cream” follows the grand tradition of Oscar Brand’s “A Clean Song” and “The Four Letter Words” which I found to be quite funny as an undergrad. However, these songs were never meant to be played around the kiddies. I think cultural rot really took off in G movies like ET where foulmouthed toddlers used the S word in “hilarious” scenes. Blame brie eating Hollywood money guys for this.

  8. What about commercials like the recent Pepsi one? It’s during a kick at a football game and the whole crowd makes an aww noise at the same time causing the kicker to miss (at least that is the idea). wouldn’t this be under similar lines?

  9. Oh, for the love of $#!+!! Second try to post…

    Jack, I don’t mean to use a rationalization like “It’s not the worst thing.” I am just reporting (unlike “journalists”). But, I think I’ve seen worse than the Frank’s ad, in Texas.

    My wife and I stopped briefly in Luling, Texas, last summer. We ate lunch at a quaint little place – nice folks there (proprietors and customers). Nice food at nice prices.

    After lunch, I followed my wife next door, into a store that quilters go to (because my wife does quilting). There, not only stuff for quilters was sold. Numerous condiments, sweets, and other edibles were sold there. I browsed around a couple of the shelves. I even bought a couple of jars of something – probably honey, which I like to sample wherever I go.

    I was walking out ahead of my wife, who was concluding her shopping and checking out. Before I reached the door, I glanced to my left. I saw a shelf stocked with what was, for the most part, roughly-16-ounce glass jars of salsa, comprised of varied flavor-accents and “spice-burn levels” (Scoville Units, anyone?) that appeared to be products of the same food retailer.

    Every jar on that entire multi-level shelf had a label printed with one adjective (or more) or another, as a modifier for, and lumped together with, the obvious “shock-marketing,” or “edgy,” “Shit.”

    I didn’t buy any of those jars. But I took a couple of photos. I could not pass up the chance to grab an image or two, to help myself to “never forget that I saw that.” Unfortunately I am unable to post the photos here – actually, I can’t find them. I have little doubt that the same food seller has a public website with all those labels accessible to any site visitor. I can picture a shopper on line chuckling and thinking, “Perfect Dad’s Day gift!,” “Tex-ana!” or such.

    In my mind, I likened the display to a bookshelf full of un-covered (non-“shielded”) Playboy magazines from back in Hugh Hefner’s heyday. I did not walk back into the store to talk to any employee or manager about what I considered grotesque, un-funny, unappetizingly crude advertising. I mean, the stuff was stocked near the front of the store. That was hint enough to me that that store was serious about selling those jars. My objection probably would have only increased the management’s incentive to stock those products.

    I would bet that well over 50% of the men who walked into that store and spotted that shelf would stand there, linger there – chuckling, reading every one of those labels, and buying at least one jar, then telling their partner excitedly, “You gotta see THIS!” I mean, it sucked me in, enough to take photos. I couldn’t even guess what-percentages-of-women would have-what-reactions to the same sight. But I suspect that many women – many of them quilters, mind you – would buy at least one jar to take home, to cater to the crudeness-tolerance of their beastly mates. They might buy a jar just to entertain their man. O perhaps, as a thank-you for their mate’s providing of money to shop in that store, with side motives to cater to the beast’s sense of humor (and tastes in salsa).

    I have a bottle of Frank’s Red Hot Sauce at home. It is nearing empty. I can’t promise that it will be the last bottle of Frank’s that will ever be in my house, because I live in a diverse household. For more than a decade, Frank’s had been my go-to brand for hot sauce. But in the past year, I have taken more of a liking to the Tapatío brand. It costs less than Frank’s, and to me, tastes as good or better. (Thanks, Paul, for your suggestions on products to try!)

    I am repulsed by the crude-talking Frank’s ads, too. But I was starting to like the Tapatío before I first saw those ads. Somehow, it seems, my instincts do better at keeping me ethical than does any of my reading or thinking. Or maybe, instead, I owe thanks for my ethical behavior entirely to my taste buds…

    I need to take a road trip. Curiosity compels me to go to Luling again. But, there is so much more else to see in Texas! You can take that $#!+ to the bank!

        • HOWDY, PAUL!! Thanks for another recommendation of a (I am sure) most delectable sauce! I will look for it, and next paycheck, after consulting with my consigliera (on matters of financial import – where codes of silence apply), I’ll try to order it on line. I will make sure to keep my Excess Scoville Unit Consumption Antidote-of-choice close at hand: ice cream. Usually Blue Bell brand – from the Texas dairylands (with no slight intended on the lovely Wisconsin dairylands or people, or their delectable products).

          It has been a weird 4 months, since I stopped commenting in October. I have kept up fairly well with the blog, and believe me, I have (1) continued to enjoy your comments and (2) been tempted to comment following many of Jack’s posts. I appreciate your appreciation of my comments

          The main reason why I stopped commenting is because my comments were not posting at all. It just became too frustrating to do the login repeatedly, then check for posting and see nothing, over and over. My choice of browser never made any difference.

          One day in October, I logged in no fewer than seven times from two different computers and networks while attempting to post a comment. Not only did my intended comment not post after all those tries. But a link to a soft-porn video (well, that’s what I call it) did post under my name, instead of what I had intended to post. That was the last straw. I probably should have emailed Jack about it, but I never did. I just quit.

          So now, I will see how many logins I have to do this time to post this comment. The typical number of logins required is two. Of course, WordPress remembers what I tried to post on my first (unsuccessful) try, and won’t post what it considers a duplicate, even if it never posted. So I have to trick the WordPress “brain” by adding words, such as a separate one-liner, “This is my second attempt to post.” Very frustrating. Yesterday, after my second login let me post my Luling story, I was able to comment in other threads without being blocked.

          Maybe this will be another Lucky day for me…like it is when I read your comments. [smiling]

        • And don’t even think about using skim milk to cut the conflagration assaulting your tongue, it will require heavy cream from America’s Dairyland!


          The secret is not milk, water, or any other such liquid.

          Should you wish to ‘tame the fire,’ use chips or any other absorbent food (bread works) to soak up the spice. The secret to HOT Texas salsa is three chips to every taste of the salsa. (Well, not taking a second taste helps, too, but where is the fun in that?)

          This little trick has been handed down from father to son for generations here. Now you can benefit from this wisdom.

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