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Carl’s Jr./Hardee’s Shifts $100 Million Ad Account

Filed under Advertising, Management, Marketing, Menu

The agency that gave us bikini-clad Audrina Patridge lounging on a beach with a Teriyaki Six Dollar Burger, Kim Kardashian in her bathtub eating a salad and Padma Lakshmi’s erotic moment with a Bacon Western Thickburger now will have to eat its lunch all by itself, in the words of the Eagles song. Mendelsohn Zien has been relieved of the Carl’s Jr./Hardee’s advertising assignment.

In its place, the chains’ parent, CKE Restaurants, and its new owner, private-equity firm Apollo Management, have hired David & Goliath in El Segundo, Calif., the small agency whose clients include Kia Motors. The account, valued by CKE at $100 million was put up for review in October. According to the report in Advertising Age, finalists included 72andSunny, Los Angeles, which continues as digital agency of record; Carmichael Lynch in Minneapolis and GSD&M Idea City, Austin, Texas. Deutsch, Los Angeles, was invited but declined to participate.

CKE VP-Marketing Brad Haley told AdAge that David & Goliath “presented a fresh new way to portray Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s” but still “retained the edginess and risk-taking that we have become famous for over the years.” Mendelsohn Zien’s edginess was exemplified by last year’s clever series of commercials for the Big Carl burger that thumbed a nose at McDonald’s Big Mac.

Still under review is Sonic’s ad account, valued at more than roughly $150 million. Adweek reported finalists as Cramer-Krasselt, Chicago; Goodby Silverstein + Partners, San Francisco; and Publicis, Dallas. The winner succeeds 17-year incumbent Barkley, Kansas City, Mo. Zenith Media was tapped for media-buying chores.