There’s no denying CKE Restaurants CEO Andrew Puzder’s contention that Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s advertising needs to bang a drum to overcome McDonald’s sevenfold TV spending advantage. Big Mac’s ad budget is steroidal; only a strong, distinctive message can compete with it.
But isn’t the question whether the middle-school snickering of Hardee’s “a-hole” campaign for its Biscuit Holes is the only way, the best way to cut through clutter? And is it really true that the “hungry young men” whom Puzder says Carl’s Jr. targets pay attention only when babes such as Audrina Patridge are on the screen? CKE is one of the restaurant business’s smartest marketing strategists, but it often relies on such dumb tactics.
How much does McDonald’s spend on TV in the Czech Republic? Bet it’s a small fraction of the $120 million Puzder says Carl’s Jr./Hardee’s will spend in the U.S. this year. Yet if you want to see fast-food advertising that’s visually rich and quirky, that stands out and that gives its audience credit for having brains, devote 90 seconds to watching these three “Chicken Romance” McDonald’s commercials airing in the Czech Republic. They’re charmingly weird.
“Chicken doesn’t have to be boring” argues this campaign, created by DDB Prague. Neither does advertising that doesn’t court the lowest common denominator.
We’ll throw in another creative McDonald’s spot from overseas, this from Leo Burnett/London, just because it’s fun to watch. Fun doesn’t have to be boring either.