Eat like you mean it

If you’ve heard of Carl’s Jr. you’re probably familiar with their take advertising and you’ve more then likely seen their ads.  ‘Eat like you mean it’ is their slogan and they’ve branded their company with a very…racy image.

Some appreciate this, others not.  Whatever your take on their culture, you know their name.  Can you name any McDonald’s commercials that you’ve recently seen and stuck in your head long enough to remember?  What about KFC?  Burger King?  Now Carl’s on the other hand, Carl’s has some pretty memorable ads.

For arguments sake if you by chance haven’t seen a Carl’s Jr ad I’ll describe the general culture…seductive women, a deep voice, seducing words, and zoomed in notions on people eating.  Got a nice visual going?  Here’s a link to an ad starring Heidi Klum just in case you need some visual aid. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2AdViveJYD0

Carl’s has been marketing this way since the beginning of their QSR life.  They’re recognized for it and nobody should expect anything less.  So when the newest ad for a promo ‘Memphis BBQ Burger’ was recently released…why was New Zealand so shocked?  After the ad hit the oversea market it was quickly banned.  New Zealand commented the ad is, “running afoul of two of the country’s advertising rules—prohibiting the use of sex appeal in an exploitative and degrading manner, and the use of sex to sell an unrelated product.” The ad features two women dressed (or hardly dressed I should say) in country outback outfits throwing pulled pork on each other and exchanging some seductive looks.

American consumers weren’t too pleased by the ban either.  Comments via twitter and facebook broke out across the web regarding the issue and how Carl’s Jr. responded.

Anyone want to take a guess at just what Carl’s Jr’s response was?  I bet you can guess they didn’t just take a hit and decide not to market to their largest oversea consumer market.  They found a creative solution to not being able to allow consumers to watch that particular ad while still advertising and promoting their new hit burger. How you ask?  They turned it into an even more racy radio ad describing exactly what takes place in the ad.  How clever.

This link allows you watch both the original ad and hear the radio version. http://www.adweek.com/adfreak/carls-jr-reacts-banning-racy-tv-ad-describing-it-radio-spot-148487

Carl’s Jr takes this approach to advertising and it must work for them seeing as this is the only approach they have ever attempted.  It’s bold, it’s new for QSR and it drives attention.  Other consumer brands do the exact same thing so why is Carl’s Jr being frowned upon so much? Perfume ads, swimwear for both sexes, virtually all products being audience driven by our generation take this approach.

What is your thoughts?  Too far or just far enough in this market?

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