Fast Times For Fast Food

When Janet Jackson exposed her breast during the Super Bowl halftime show, pundits called the stunt a calculated move to boost sales of her upcoming album. Then, a year later GoDaddy made good with a graphic Super Bowl commercial mocking the Congressional hearings held in response to Jackson’s stunt. Clearly, sex sells. Now, as before. Carl’s Jr. understands that, and they have the numbers to prove it.

from Adweek: Paris Hilton, who rose to infamy on the strength of an amateur video that never appeared in theaters or on TV, has shot a commercial for Carl’s Jr. that also may never run on television.
CKE Restaurants, which has a reputation for politically incorrect advertising, tapped the sexy socialite for a new Carl’s Jr. TV spot. The problem, according to a source, is the spot is meeting with some resistance from network executives. “It couldn’t be more pornographic,” said the source. “It’s about as racy as I’ve seen.”
Set to the song “I Love Paris in the Springtime,” the 30-second spot, via Mendelsohn/Zien in Los Angeles, shows Hilton washing a car “with hoses shooting everywhere and her soaping everything up,” said the source. Touting the BBQ Six Dollar Burger, it plays off her catch phrase, “That’s hot.”
“We liken our advertising to more of what the beer brands do,” said Brad Haley, evp of marketing at Carl’s Jr. (which targets men 18-34) in an interview with Brandweek earlier this year. “There’s a lot of male attitude, personality and edge. Sometimes sex appeal enters into it on occasion. It’s something younger guys are interested in.”
The strategy appears to be working. The 959-unit chain rang up $1.4 billion in sales last year, up from $1 billion. It also has reported 25 consecutive months of same-store sales increases.



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.