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Carl’s Jr.’s Sleaze Tithe – Sponsored by BYU Athletics

Today Paul Rolly of the Salt Lake Tribune wrote an article on the scuzzball advertising consuming Carl’s Jr. He quoted my post from last month, Sleazevertising: An Open Letter to the BYU Athletic Department.

Carl's Jr.'s Sleaze Tithe

In spite of forwarding the letter to every person I could find at BYU Athletics and the Sponsorship Group, I have heard nothing back from anyone. Rolly tried to contact BYU spokeswoman Carrie Jenkins about the issue but got no response. (I like to imagine that Ms. Jenkins was busy storming over to the Smith Field House to demand changes, but given this is the same woman who thinks BYU students don’t want caffeinated beverages, I am not holding my breath.)

Later, however, Rolly did get “this terse email from the communications office:”

BYU Athletics works with local [Carl’s Jr.] franchise owners, who have supported athletics for many years. These owners do not control or provide input on corporate advertising campaigns. Any promotion with BYU Athletics pertains to the local franchises.

In other words, money for nothing and chicks for free. 

Just to be crystal clear, Carl’s Jr. “franchisees pay royalties of 4% of gross sales and must contribute 5.5% of gross sales toward advertising and promotions. The advertising and promotions obligation is divided between the Carl’s Jr. National Advertising Fund, Regional Co-Op, and local store marketing.” (Click the image to enlarge.)

Carl's Jr. franchisee advertising

In other words, every dollar you spend at any Carl’s Jr. means more money for skanky, demeaning, objectifying advertising that hurts all women.

Sure, the local Carl’s Jr. franchisees are big BYU boosters. Sure they give boatloads of money to the Cougs in exchange for the back-of-the-ticket coupon ads. Heck, they probably even pal around with the Cougar Club big wigs and sit in a loge during games, sipping caffeine free coke and munching on culinary delights those in the lower echelons can only imagine. But does that justify promoting a company that has long felt female objectification is the best way to sell a burger?

At least FSU benched Jameis Winston for demeaning women (thanks to a hefty nudge from the university president). Shame on BYU for looking the other way while women are harmed.

Will Kevin Worthen have the burgers to clean up the slime in BYU Athletics?

{ 34 comments… add one }
  • IdRatherNotSay September 24, 2014, 10:22 pm

    In my opinion, the following messages can be extrapolated from what I have learned about this situation as a life-long church member:

    -BYU football is more precious than the chastity of women
    -I have to dress modestly, unless there is money to be made, in which case it is acceptable for me to dress scantily
    -I should not tempt men to think bad thoughts… unless there is money to be made, in which case it is acceptable for me to behave suggestively
    -I have to follow the rules of morality, but the church is allowed to look the other way if soft porn is sponsoring their sports team
    -Despite being told that I am an offspring of deity and am of great worth to my Father in Heaven, I’m really just a piece of meat because I’m anatomically different from my male counterparts
    -My male counterparts frankly aren’t worth much more than I am because they’re apparently entirely incapable of giving in to their carnal desires since they cannot resist sex and hamburgers

    Of course, I do not actually believe that the church feels this way or that they wish to convey these messages but the truth is that they are… and it hurts. I don’t want my daughter to grow up believing these things so it is my hope that BYU athletics will stop supporting such “local franchises,” no matter how profitable they may be. I am not allowed to make my living by doing things that are contrary to my morals. As a supposed example to us all, BYU should be required to abide by those same standards.

    I support you in this endeavor, Alison.

    P.S. Whatever happened to Angie Gardner?

  • Angie Gardner September 25, 2014, 4:11 am

    Still here, just very busy right now, and having a severe case of writer’s block! 🙂

  • Jonah September 25, 2014, 9:50 am

    Sick that BYU acts like the franchises are completely independent of the corporate. This isn’t for lack of knowledge; everyone knows this. It’s for the money.

  • Lorian Dunlop September 25, 2014, 11:41 am

    Alison, kudos to you for calling out Carl’s Jr. and BYU. Carl’s Jr. is headquartered here in SoCal, and a family member of mine used to work for their corporate offices. I’ve been deeply and thoroughly disgusted by their advertising campaigns for decades, and refuse to patronize their stores. I have a hard time believing that BYU wasn’t aware of what this business represents and how it presents itself to the public, and I find it appalling that the LDS church or BYU would affiliate itself with an organization like this. You are on the side of the angels, here. Thank you, again, for having the guts to call it like you see it.

  • Judy September 25, 2014, 12:36 pm

    What happens when BYU calls for their annual fund raising drive for BYU alumni? Till their association with Carl’s Jr. ceases, from this house, absolutely nothing.

  • Ezra September 25, 2014, 4:34 pm

    I think we need to be careful of criticizing BYU and its leadership. Let us not forget who sits at the head of this institution…the Brethren. And we have made a covenant not to speak evil of the Lord’s anointed. Perhaps with an eternal perspective, we could see the wisdom of putting Carl’s Jr. ads on the back of BYU tickets. His ways are not our ways.

  • Alison Moore Smith September 25, 2014, 5:10 pm

    Ezra, I call troll. Next time you want to make up something try to be a little more subtle.
    Alison Moore Smith recently posted…Sleazevertising:
     An Open Letter to the BYU Athletic Department
    My Profile

  • Ezra September 25, 2014, 6:29 pm

    Not sure what you mean. I just think this post looks very similar to Ordain Women…it’s a slippery slope from criticism to apostasy.

  • King James September 25, 2014, 6:32 pm

    This must feel like Christmas for you!!! Keep on fighting (and more importantly telling everyone you can about your heroics). Be the loud whiney megaphone shouting down BYU (BYU for crying out loud) for their immorality. What’s funny is that I’d wager you are one of the first to voice disdain for Rev. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, when you are doing the exact same thing. Stirring up contention through fake controversies for attention and adulation.
    Have you ever run anything before (besides being CEO of your family)? Not everything is black and white. Sometimes you have to make the best choice you have available, even if it isn’t a perfect one.

  • Wonton September 25, 2014, 6:58 pm

    James, you’re a psycho. Pull your hand out of pants and back out of the closet.

  • Bobsy September 25, 2014, 7:00 pm

    —I think we need to be careful of criticizing BYU and its leadership. Let us not forget who sits at the head of this institution…the Brethren.—

    This is how academic and intellectual freedom gets stamped out. NO QUESTIONS! The BRETHREN are in charge.

  • Jenni September 25, 2014, 7:19 pm

    This is a hard one for me. I get both sides: Carl’s Junior selling sexy is wrong, but if the Lord leads and guides our leaders (His representatives here on earth) than wouldnt Heavenly Father instruct them if this was really bad? Don’t get me wrong, the Carl’s Jr. commercials are not uplifting and risqué for sure, but If this was such a big deal, I don’t think the Lord would allow it. So I kinda don’t think its that big of deal that byu uses them as a sponsor.

  • Alison Moore Smith September 25, 2014, 6:41 pm

    Ho ho ho, your highness!!

    Here’s some substance: this whining of yours is all faux battling with straw men. You love to create boogeymen that you can slay for the adulation of yourself.

    How about some concern for compelling and urgent problems: like, for example, the 11k people who die of starvation every day, or the Ebola epidemic threatening millions, or homelessness?

    Nah, none of those come with the rush of moral superiority that comes with blasting people who blog. Darn it to heck, that must feel yummy.

    This evil blogging over which you’ve ginned up hysterics can be dealt with by taking a valium. So please consider turning the volume down on the moral crusade you fight against blogging under the banner of your little fiefdom. It’s of little use and all find it off putting. Your talents would be better applied elsewhere, if you had any.
    Alison Moore Smith recently posted…Videos of Jesus Christ – One Day at a TimeMy Profile

  • Alison Moore Smith September 25, 2014, 6:43 pm

    Yes, Ezra. I see your point. Asking BYU to stop partnering with a company that rabidly objectifies women is just about exactly the same thing as asking to be ordained to the priesthood.
    Alison Moore Smith recently posted…Videos of Jesus Christ – More to Life Than NowMy Profile

  • Dave K September 26, 2014, 7:13 am

    I think Ezra is on to something. Someday when women are given priesthood leadership responsibility, I expect to see much more scruity of ads such as the Carl’s Jr. ads discussed in the OP. So it’s a win-win.

  • Alison Moore Smith September 26, 2014, 8:02 am

    Jenni, I appreciate your input, but very honestly such attitudes toward the church, church institutions, church “leaders” (BYU athletics department and the sponsorship group?????), etc. is mind boggling and incredibly harmful.

    I literally just want to bang my head against the wall.

    BTW, why does BYU football ever lose games???? I mean, wasn’t Bronco Mendenhall called of God because “the brethren” run the church????

    Alison Moore Smith recently posted…Videos of Jesus Christ – More to Life Than NowMy Profile

  • IdRatherNotSay September 26, 2014, 3:33 pm

    I don’t see how there is any “evil speaking of the lord’s annointed” here. It is my understanding that the First Presidency does not directly oversee the ad campaigning department of BYU athletics. In fact, I think they literally have no clue that this is even going on. Maybe Alison’s plea here will somehow bring it to the attention of someone with the authority and moral compass to do something about it.

    What’s right is right and what’s wrong is wrong. Porn and the objectification of women are not right. They never have been they never will be, regardless of what university happens to profit from them.

    Nice to see you, Angie!

  • Oregonian September 26, 2014, 7:25 pm

    What IdRatherNotSay said.

  • Jim Cobabe September 27, 2014, 4:33 am

    Notwithstanding offensive advertising, they make a pretty good burger! 🙂

    I actually am inclined to compliment Carls Jr. Thus far they seem to have avoided the politically-correct insane death-grip that so seems to characterize the disengenous sycophant LGBT posturing of so many other commercial venues.

    Even with this being said, I do prefer In-N-Out Burgers.

  • natuo October 1, 2014, 10:15 am

    I find it RIDICULOUS that anyone would call heresy against someone who is simply standing up for the morals we have been taught in the LDS Church. Seeking answers from BYU concerning their decision to continue a business relationship with an organization that blatantly goes against LDS values makes perfect sense.

  • Alison Moore Smith October 1, 2014, 12:48 pm

    Thank you, natuo. That’s kind of what I was thinking!
    Alison Moore Smith recently posted…Top 5 Things About the September 2014 General Women’s MeetingMy Profile

  • Greg October 31, 2014, 1:46 pm

    Check the ads on your own blog. Do any of the corporations that “sponsor” you, sell things by portraying women as objects? Are you as guilty as BYU?

  • Alison Moore Smith October 31, 2014, 5:05 pm

    There’s a funny thing about the ads on my blog, Greg. They consist of:


    The last one, in the footer, is a variable ad that pulls from sites YOU have already visited or related products. It’s cookie based. So if there are skanky ads showing there for you, you better check your browser history. (Mine shows “The Subaru Legacy Challenge.”)
    Alison Moore Smith recently posted…General Women’s Session of General Conference – It’s OfficialMy Profile

  • Grey Ghost November 12, 2014, 4:15 pm

    An important note to Carl’s Jr. non-fans, and Alison Moore Smith fans, in the South and the Midwest of the US: Hardee’s Restaurants is a sister company, owned by the same holding company and with the same CEO (and sinister smiling star logo) as Carl’s Jr. So if you live in Minnesota, as I do, and you oppose the sleaze tithe, stick to Burger King.

  • Connee January 29, 2015, 12:54 pm

    I am the Carls Jr. Franchisee that is working with BYU. No, we are not sitting back patting BYU’s back while these inappropriate ads are run. Our voice is at the very least dim in the advertising of Carls Jr. They certainly sympathize with us, but because of the much free advertising and wave the ads cause, they only see that as a positive. We do not use ANY of our local market advertising funds to promote these ads. We try to support local schools, the BSA and many other family oriented organizations. I am the mother of 4 beautiful women and 3 granddaughters. I too cringe at the sight of these ads. Please know that I DO voice my concern, but because we are such a small drop in the bucket I’m afraid we will not win. Do though, continue to urge CKE to change their focus and I fully support you in this effort.

  • Alison Moore Smith January 29, 2015, 1:10 pm

    Connee, I appreciate your comment and I’m glad to hear that you have pushed back at corporate on this issue.

    Unless/until Carl’s Jr. corporate ceases to objectify women, I will never step foot in another store, will not contribute dollars to it, and will continue to point out the association with a school that declares a set of values completely undermined by the company. I appreciate that, individually, you support good causes (although public schools and BSA probably aren’t on top of my list!), but that cannot undo the excessive damage done by this company as a whole.

    BYU should not, on principle, affiliate with a company that engages in this kind of harm. When schools or scouting troops or other “family friendly” organizations partner with Carl’s Jr. they add credibility to what is not credible.

    Again, thanks for writing. I hope someone can get through to these sexist numbskulls.
    Alison Moore Smith recently posted…The Salvation EquationMy Profile

  • Connee February 1, 2015, 7:11 pm

    This is to inform you, so you don’t criticize BYU’s affiliation with us, the local Utah County to Southern Utah Franchisee. Through much effort, and thank you for voicing your opinions, the All Natural Burger ad will NOT be aired in Utah. We do care, and do not approve of the use of women portrayed in a few, I do have to say, a few of the ads. We do not air these ads in Utah local stations. Unfortunately we cannot control what you get via cable and direct/dish tv. Please note this as you boycott a business who does hold to a moral code as we do at Carls Jr. in Utah. If Carls Jr. Corporate didn’t receive such a response on their ads, negative or positive, they would probably got another direction.

  • Alison Moore Smith February 1, 2015, 9:13 pm

    Connee, I’m glad to hear you are not doing so.

    I agree that Carl’s Jr. corporate uses the ads because they work, but I’m unsure how that matters. First, of course it works, or they would likely have stopped. But the fact that harming women makes them more money isn’t some kind of behavioral pass. Don’t you think Penthouse’s layouts get a positive response from some people, too? Do you think that makes it acceptable?

    Again, my problem with supporting any Carl’s Jr. franchise is that “every dollar [I] spend at any Carl’s Jr. means more money for skanky, demeaning, objectifying advertising that hurts all women.”

    Let me specify something that you may not have understood. I don’t patronize Victoria’s Secret, nor do I patronize Abercrombie & Fitch. I moved all my domains away from GoDaddy during their advertising skankfest.

    I have no doubt that there are some honest, decent people—even people who object to female (and male!) objectification—who work for these companies. I’m sorry that they are collateral damage when the companies are (hopefully) damaged for their immoral choices.

    The only way I have (other than write useless letters that are ignored by corporate executives and college administrators) to combat this kind of smut is with my purchasing dollars and my voice. So I will use them.

    As it stands,Carl’s Jr. is a smutty company that uses objectification of women in obscene ways. Period. I’m sorry that you are associated with this company. I’m sorry that you have purchased franchises from a company that doesn’t care about harm to women and doesn’t care about it’s franchisees.

    But none of those things convinces me to give my hard earned money to a company that will use it to further harm women and support a pornographic and objectifying culture.
    Alison Moore Smith recently posted…Cranberry Veggie Quinoa SaladMy Profile

  • Heather February 4, 2015, 6:32 am

    Posted on my LinkedIn BYU Alumni group about this issue. I am in full support of your cause. I’ve learned in the business world that nothing speaks louder than money. I hope you take this fight to the local media (probably not KSL or Deseret News for obvious reasons). The church owned stations have taken a stand against broadcasting programs that laugh in the face of family values. I don’t know why this is is an afterthought. I do feel for the local owner but I do not wish to give my money for that which is of no worth – and that includes my tithing money and my BYU ticket money to support an organization who clearly mocks women!

  • Alison Moore Smith February 8, 2015, 11:54 am

    Heather, thank you. I just saw the post on LinkedIn and commented. Thanks for your support and for being willing to speak up!
    Alison Moore Smith recently posted…No Squeegee, No Wipe, Self Sheeting, Streak Free Window CleanerMy Profile

  • Heather July 30, 2015, 11:23 pm

    Guess what WASN’T on my BYU football tickets?!?!? Carl’s Jr.! Don’t know why (probably a better offer from Provo Beach). But I’d love to think you played a big hand in it!

  • Alison Moore Smith July 30, 2015, 11:48 pm

    Haha, yes! I have a post scheduled in the morning about it! Woot!
    Alison Moore Smith recently posted…Boy Scouts, Sexism Blindness, Homosexual Leaders, and the Mormon Re-evaluationMy Profile

  • Alison Moore Smith July 31, 2015, 9:46 am

    Here’s the link to the followup article:

    BYU Football: No More Carl’s Jr.
    Alison Moore Smith recently posted…Boy Scouts, Sexism Blindness, Homosexual Leaders, and the Mormon Re-evaluationMy Profile

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