No more burgers and bikinis, Hardee's starts new marketing - WSMV News 4

No more burgers and bikinis, Hardee's starts new marketing

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Many claim that sex sells, and Hardee's commercials have long had people talking about their racy ads. Now, Hardee's is moving away from models in bikinis washing cars and chowing down on burgers.

"If we exclude ethics, the measure of any advertising campaign is whether it worked," said Dr. Lindsay Dillingham, an assistant professor of marketing at Lipscomb University. "That ad campaign did bring Hardee's back from the brink. Now, the time is certainly right to change their strategy."

A new ad has been released showing Charles Esten of the show Nashville playing the fictional Carl Hardee Sr. In it, he takes back the company advertising from his son who's been behind the bikini commercials.

Last year, Hardee's parent company CKE Restaurants announced they were moving their headquarters to Middle Tennessee.

Chief marking officer Brad Haley sent in a statement saying:

Since premiering our now iconic ad starring Paris Hilton 12 years ago, Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s have become synonymous with two things: bikinis and burgers. While those provocative ads generated a lot of buzz for our brands and were very successful for us, it was very difficult for that kind of an ad to tell a more comprehensive story about the long list of things we do to make better food than anyone else in our space…or better food than most sit-down restaurants make, for that matter,” said Brad Haley, chief marketing officer for CKE Restaurants. “Things like using 100 percent Black Angus beef or all-natural beef and chicken, making biscuits from scratch, hand-breading chicken tenders and hand-scooping ice cream shakes. The problem was that we just weren’t getting credit for all that effort. But now, we have the perfect storyteller to tell that impressive story, and our creative agency partner, 72andSunny, really outdid themselves by conceptualizing not only the campaign, but the broader rebranding effort as well.

A rep for CKE said the ad's by new creative agency partner, 72andSunny. They're working on the company's rebranding.

"They're going back to an ad strategy that emphasizes quality and catches more of those millennial consumers and consumers as a whole demanding more quality from their meals," Dillingham said. "That could be beneficial for them. Hardee's is a really longstanding brand, and at some point, they have to have a new message. They have to attract new consumers."

Dillingham said rebranding's happening at a lot of fast food chains right now as they compete with the growing fast casual business.

"Fast food chains as a whole are still figuring out ways to respond," she said. "As for the edgy ads detracting from their message, it probably was. Hardee's does claim to have more value in ingredients, and I'm not necessarily sure that's a change for them. I believe in their viewpoint, any ad campaign's going to emphasize quality that was already there. Hopefully, you have brands that see the future. They see what's coming down the pike, and they realize they need to be poised to deal with future challenges."

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