The Hustle

How do you sell a burger? By NOT featuring scantily clad women, apparently.

Declining sales and #MeToo have finally led Carl’s Jr. to move beyond its sexist ad campaigns.

November 14, 2019

Carl’s Jr., AKA Hardee’s, AKA that place you’ve been to only if you were on a road trip and even White Castle was closed, has decided to move on from racy ad campaigns, according to The New York Times

That’s right: The struggling fast food chain that trails McD’s, Wendy’s, BK, and Sonic in sales is pivoting from bikinis to burgers. 

So say goodbye to Paris

In 2005, CKE, the parent of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, began a series of commercials that featured women suggestively noshing on the chain’s food, including Paris Hilton. Other featured women included Kim Kardashian, Heidi Klum, and Hayden Panettiere.

Media outlets roasted the company for objectifying women. Groups like Beauty Redefined suggested Carl’s Jr. was contributing to a public health crisis and called for boycotts.

But CKE remained gung ho on the sexist strategy. In 2017, former CEO Andrew Puzder claimed the ads saved the company, while acknowledging they’d lost some of their usefulness because… the internet.

“You can get sex on the internet — you don’t need a Carl’s Jr. or Hardee’s ad,” he said.   

Sir, this is a Hardee’s

Post #MeToo and the exodus of Puzder, the chain plans to launch an ad campaign next spring that will focus on the quality of its food. It’s working with 72andSunny, which it partnered with two years ago on a “food, not boobs” campaign, which still included images of scantily clad women.

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