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Carl’s Jr., Hardee’s Review $58 Million Ad Account

Filed under Advertising, Marketing, QSR Burgers

httpv:// Barely three months after Apollo Management completed its acquisition of CKE Restaurants, the Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s advertising accounts—with combined 2009 ad spending of $58 million—are being reviewed, Advertising Age reported today.

The departures of key executives at incumbent agency Mendelsohn Zien, Los Angeles, also may have been a factor, Ad Age reports. Mendelsohn Zien—famous among young men for its 2005 Carl’s Jr. commercial with Paris Hilton washing a car by way of introducing the Spicy BBQ Burger—is taking part in the review. According to Ad Age, other agencies involved are 72andSunny, Los Angeles, which handles digital advertising for both chains, and David & Goliath in El Segundo, Calif. The small shop is best known for its work for Korean automaker Kia. Deutsch’s Los Angeles office was invited to participate but declined. Brad Haley is CKE’s executive vice president of marketing.

httpvh:// While sharing an agency, Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s have seen very different results. For CKE’s second fiscal quarter ended Aug. 9, 2010, Carl’s Jr. same-store sales were down 7.4%; Hardee’s were up 6.8%. Year to date (two quarters), Carl’s Jr. is off 6.6% while Hardee’s shows a 2.2% improvement.

Mendelsohn Zien’s work for both chains has most famously involved “babe and burger” commercials, including recent spots with Audrina Patridge in a bikini eating a burger at the beach and Kim Kardashian eating salad in her bathtub. Hardee’s current campaign (above) features swimsuit model Julie Henderson biting into the new Texas Toast Bacon Cheese Thickburger. More clever have been Mendelsohn Zien’s bold jabs at burger rival McDonald’s through TV spots for items such as the Big Carl (at left), a double burger introduced in January 2010 to lure Big Mac fans.