Carl’s Jr. Tex Mex Ad Is Super Bro-y, But Draws Attention to Mexican Border Politics

Carl’s Jr. is no stranger to controversy. Their ads are known for taking the “sex sells” maxim to the next level, featuring barely-clothed women eating items from the Carl’s menu in sexually suggestive ways.

But now, the brand has been generating minor controversy not just because their latest ad yet again treats women like pieces of meat in order to sell actual pieces of meat, but because they incorporated a cheeky (literally and figuratively) “borderball” game.  The premise is this: in order to settle an argument over whether Carl’s Jr’s new Tex Mex Bacon Thickburger is more “Tex” or “Mex”, two teams of women compete in a cross-border volleyball game.

Some have accused the ad of stereotyping (the women on the Mex side are all olive-skinned, while the women on the Tex side are blonde gringas) and trivializing America’s border crisis. But whether you thought the ad was tasteless or pretty innocuous, there is no denying that borderball is actually a real thing. In the towns of Naco, Arizona and Naco, Sonora, residents have been playing a cross-border volleyball variant called walleyball for more than 30 years, with the border fence serving as the divider. It’s a pretty awesome political act, which you can learn more about in our feature on walleyball here.

But for Carl’s Jr., getting political was not the intention. They were quick to clarify to Us Weekly,“Our new ad for the Tex Mex Bacon Thickburger is not a political statement. It is simply a fast food ad, and, like all of our ads, the premise helps to paint a picture about the food. If a connection was made between the ad and politics – it was certainly not our intent.”