Burger Pioneers Bump Frat Boys from The Carl’s Jr. Menu

Someone sent Carls Jr.’s sexist adverting back to the kitchen. No more tits and ass. Now, it’s about the meat, the menu, and the brand’s history of innovation.

In case you’re not sure what you’re missing here, let’s revisit the recent past in Carl’s Jr. land.

Team Tex, meet Team Mex. On 9.25.15, it’s game on. #TexMexBacon

A post shared by Carl's Jr. (@carlsjr) on

According to Adweek, the fast feeder’s agency, 72andSunny, also introduced new packaging, and a new tagline “Pioneers of the great American burger.”

“They’ve never really gotten credit for their quality, and we want that message to land with consumers,” said Jason Norcross, executive creative director and partner at 72andSunny.

It appears that the brand is also erasing much of its recent advertised history. The Carl’s Jr. YouTube page is looking a bit bare. It contains just three videos, all new and on message.

Is this a move to quell the uprising of women and feminists across America?

I don’t have any evidence to support the claim. What I can do is point out that Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s are owned and run by CKE Restaurants of Franklin, Tennessee. CKE was acquired by private equity firm Roark Capital in 2013. Andy Puzder, President Trump’s controversial choice for Secretary of Labor (who ended up withdrawing), has been CEO of CKE since 2000.

According to USA TODAY, Pudzer is now also stepping down as CEO to write a book on economic issues.

It could be that today’s political climate has nothing to do with the new product-focused advertising. Whatever’s driving the change, here we are in the middle of it. Will people miss the in-your-face sexualization of the act of eating cheeseburgers? I’m sure some will. Will others be moved by product details to eat at Carl’s Jr. or Hardee’s?

Is it smart to differentiate a fast food brand on product? Arby’s has the meats, and McDonald’s is moving to fresh, not frozen beef, and chicken with no antibiotics. Customers want a healthier product and restaurants are listening and responding.

Do customers also want the ads they consume to be healthier media products? Let’s see how things play out.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.