April 24, 2017

Carl's Jr. scraps 'sexy' commercials due to flagging sales

01 April 2017, 01:31 | Ignacio Smith

The restaurant's new

Carl's Jr. new packaging

Fast-food chain Carl's Jr. released a new ad on Wednesday that diverges from everything else in their, uh, oeuvre - scantily clad women like Charlotte McKinney and Paris Hilton chowing down on burgers - while openly acknowledging the shift.

Carl's Jr. made a name for itself with attention-grabbing marketing, including model Charlotte McKinney in a Super Bowl ad walking through a market in a bikini, Paris Hilton washing a vehicle while eating a burger, and Emily Ratajkowski fighting with Sara Underwood over space on a barbecue.

It starts off with the fictional founder Carl Hardee Sr.'s son, Carl Hardee Jr., fooling around with VR glasses with one of the models. A new tagline has been revealed: "Pioneers of the great American burger".

CKE Restaurants, the California-based parent company of Carl's and Hardee's, was until earlier this month led by Andrew Puzder, President Donald Trump's original nominee to lead the Labor Department. Still, in an interview with USA Today, Puzder framed this new campaign as part of an effort to focus "more directly and convincingly" on the quality and taste of the restaurants' food, not just a changing of the guard.

"You and I certainly may like the ads we've been running", Puzder, 66, told Stuart Varney on Fox Business on Thursday. While Carl's Jr. and Hardee's ads certainly drummed up publicity for the brands, Norcross said they weren't exactly driving business anymore - not even among long-time customers, who tend to be "young, hungry guys".

At the end of the spot, Carl Hardee Sr. gets into an American classic vehicle with his son.

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A post shared by Carl's Jr.

The company's rationale for its makeover reflects the same view of women as "distracting" (and men as unable to resist sexualizing them) as the ad.

Cleaning up its act seems like it was a long time coming for Carl's Jr and Hardee's.

"It was time to evolve", Jason Norcross, the executive creative director of ad agency 72andSunny, told AdWeek of the new campaign.

"Some of the product attributes got lost because people were too busy ogling girls", he said.

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