USA Today pokes around a bit on one of the least-appealing ad-related stories to surface in recent months: Restaurant chains are waging large-scale campaigns to convince people—OK, mostly young men—to eat fast food by playing off the completely commodified sex appeal of Kim Kardashian and the Burger King “Shower Babe.” (In the latter case, viewers get to vote for what bikini she wears while she showers under the leer of a web-camera. Hey, that’s really cool, and not at all evocative of pornography.)

The theory behind both campaigns: Young men can be convinced to eat Carl’s Jr. salads (Kardashian) or Burger King burgers (Shower Babe) by the deployment of female flesh.

Anyone who’s ever seen a commercial can’t be particularly surprised by these tactics. Sex has sold stuff for a while now [Warning: Mildy sexy retro pin-up ads].

What’s interesting about these campaigns is how direct they are. “HOT BABE!” they shout. “BRAND NAME! YEAH! BUY!” Relatively low numbers on the Shower Babe campaign (a mere 70,000 unique visitors since its launch on December 8) indicate that just a touch more wit or subtlety might pay dividends. Or maybe they indicate that only 70,000 guys are slow-witted enough to think the Burger King Shower Babe is their best source of free online stimulation.

See more articles