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Jack in the Box Criticized for Suggestive Ad

The newest Jack in the Box commercial had some critics scratching their heads with its off-color word play in light of the #MeToo movement.

On Wednesday, Jack in the Box published the new ad for its Teriyaki Bowls, which is built on one joke: bowls sounds like balls. It starts with the Jack mascot introducing the menu items, "While other burger places serve the same old stuff, I'm the only one with the bowls to serve something different. I mean, just look at my Teriyaki Bowls."

After describing the bowls, Jack walks into another room, where an employee asks, "What about these bowls, Jack?"

Later, a woman walks down the stairs to declare, "Everyone's going to want to get their hands on Jack's bowls!"

"Come try my bowls!" Jack says before the ad is paused.

Then, the commercial cuts to a board room, where an executive tells Jack that their lawyers are not comfortable with this campaign. Jack is perplexed, and goes on to list more bowl slogans they cannot use.

The ad ends with Jack asking about his new billboard, which reads "Enjoy My Bowls."

Since the ad was released, there have been critics online. AdWeek's David Griner even called it "the most tone-deaf" ad of the #MeToo era.

Jack in the Box and David & Goliath, the ad agency behind the commercial, defended the commercial, pointing out that it falls in line with Jack in the Box's past tongue-in-cheek ads.

"[A]s a brand known by its fans for its tongue-in-cheek, playful sense of humor, this ad is simply a creative and humorous expression around the teriyaki bowl product," the companies told CBS MoneyWatch. "It intends to highlight how a burger brand such as Jack in the Box dares to go beyond the usual fast food fare and serve something different."

Griner told CBS MoneyWatch he still thought it was a bad commercial because it celebrates sexual jokes in the workplace.

"In advertising, you can make a brilliantly dumb ad that's still fantastic," Griner said. "Sometimes, those are the best ads. But this spot goes dumb without taking the time to be brilliant. Will it work on some folks? Sure. But that's not a good excuse for celebrating sexual jokes in the workplace."

Some Jack in the Box fans praised the company for keeping the advertisement online.

"Hilarious. Glad to see a company with the bowls to be funny in this hypersensitive environment. Keep em' coming and I'll give you my business," one fan wrote.

"Dont take this down because a few people complain about it. It's perfect," another wrote.

"Great ad pretty funny.. Please don't let the vocal minority control you," another wrote on YouTube.

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The Jack mascot has been in Jack in the Box's advertising since 1995. The chain has over 2,000 locations in 21 states and Guam.

Photo credit: Jack in the Box