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No bikinis: CKE launches new ad campaign

Carl’s Jr. and sister brand Hardee’s on Thursday launched a new advertising campaign for the new hand-breaded chicken filet sandwich that has a noticeable lack of hot models in bikinis.

CKE Restaurants Inc., the parent of the two quick-service brands, has long been known for sexy advertising that appeals to its key demographic of “young, hungry men.” Earlier this year, for example, the introduction of new turkey burgers was promoted with TV ads featuring a voluptuous beauty queen — Miss Turkey — wearing a “turkey print” bikini and, of course, eating a turkey burger.

Other ads in recent years have included Paris Hilton in a bathing suit washing a car while eating a burger, Padma Lakshmi in a low-cut dress eating a burger, and Audrina Partridge in a gold lamé bikini eating a burger.

The new ad campaign for the chicken filet sandwich features an adorable robot who returns home from work and sits down to enjoy the sandwich — only to realize that he doesn’t actually have a mouth with which to eat it.

The message is: “If machines can’t eat it, machines shouldn’t make it.”

Watch the commercial.

Beth Mansfield, a CKE spokeswoman, said the ad campaign, developed by Los Angeles-based David & Goliath, does not mark a shift away from the traditional use of hot models in bikinis.

David & Goliath also developed the Miss Turkey ads, as well as other commercials for the turkey burgers that featured a live turkey as a failed babysitter and as a tattoo artist. The message here is: “Turkey’s don’t make great babysitters/tattoo artists. They make great burgers.”

“We still have hot models,” Mansfield said. “They’re just not in every spot.”

In the longer version of the new commercials, the frustrated robot lets loose his laser vision, causing mayhem and destruction, a theme that also appeals to young, hungry men, Mansfield added.

And the robot may become a character that could appear in future ads, she noted.

The hand-breaded chicken filet sandwich is the third poultry-related menu item CKE has promoted for Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s this year. The run began with hand-breaded chicken tenders, followed by turkey burgers.

The products are designed to reflect the company’s focus on premium menu items, such as hand-scooped shakes made with real ice cream, and made-from-scratch biscuits.

“As expected, our customers have come to appreciate the fact that our Hand-Breaded Chicken Tenders taste so much better and fresher than the pre-cooked ones available at most fast-food restaurants,” said Brad Haley, chief marketing officer for Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, in a statement. “So it was a natural next step for us to start making our chicken breast sandwiches the very same way, and the result is incredible. Battered and breaded by hand, our new Hand-Breaded Chicken Fillet Sandwich is big, thick and juicy and tastes just like you would make it at home.”

The sandwich features a breast fillet, dipped in buttermilk and egg batter, dusted with seasoned flour and fried, and then topped with tomato, lettuce and mayonnaise on a seeded bun. It is available for a recommended $3.99 as an entrée, or $6.49 as a combination meal with fries and a drink.

Contact Lisa Jennings at lisa.jenn[email protected].
Follow her on Twitter: @livetodineout

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