CKE Restaurants Declares Rightful Status as “Pioneers of the Great American Burger”

Fast food titan introduces overhauled advertising direction emphasizing food quality, innovation and deep-rooted history as QSR industry pioneers

Poster, CKE Restaurants (Graphic: Business Wire)

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FRANKLIN, Tenn.--()--CKE Restaurants Holdings, Inc. (“CKE”), parent company of Carl’s Jr.® and Hardee’s® restaurant chains, today announced the official launch of its new advertising direction and brand ethos, beginning with declaring their rightful status as “Pioneers of the Great American Burger”; the title will also serve as the company’s new ad tagline.

“CKE has always been driven by a pioneering spirit — and whether it was being the first hamburger QSR chain to charbroil burgers, igniting the movement toward all-natural products with the All-Natural Burger or introducing the all-you-can-drink beverage bar, nobody has done more to shape the world of fast food as we know it than Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s,” said Mike Murphy, president and chief legal officer for CKE Restaurants. “That extensive history of pioneering innovation is at the heart of this new campaign, and we couldn’t be more excited to not only continue evolving our brand, but also to share our story with a whole new generation of restaurant goers.”

As a first step in this new direction, CKE debuted their “Pioneer Anthem” commercial last week – It’s 30 seconds of tantalizing adrenaline that delivers the most in-your-face, deliciously pop culture-driven fast food history lesson of your life, all set to a beat-thumping electropop soundtrack that hits harder than a Jalapeño Popper®.

This week, the company introduces its new silver-fox of a spokes-character and fictional founder, Carl Hardee Sr. (portrayed by actor, singer, comedian, Charles Esten), who epically personifies this new irreverent, quality- and pioneer-focused direction. In CKE’s newest commercial spot titled, “Carl Hardee Sr. Returns,” Carl Hardee Sr. is seen “taking back” the company from “son,” Carl Hardee Jr. (portrayed by the Upright Citizens Brigade’s Drew Tarver). The self-parodying commercial campaign was developed by Los Angeles-, New York- and Amsterdam-based creative agency 72andSunny, and will have its nationwide broadcast debut on 4/1, during Adult Swim™ on Cartoon Network™, which draws an audience of millions each week.

“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.”

“The best stories have a storyteller,” said Jason Norcross, partner and executive creative director at 72andSunny. “Creating both Carl Hardee Sr. and Carl Hardee Jr. gives us a fresh way to talk about the food, while helping the brand get credit for all the pioneering it does in the industry. People care about what’s in their food more than ever, and this campaign is all about getting back to talking about what makes Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s stand out against its competition – its history of innovation and the story behind its quality products. We're really proud of our partnership with CKE, and it's exciting to work with a brand that's brave and collaborative. This is just the beginning and we're excited for what's to come.”

In addition to the new commercial campaign, the overhaul will touch many facets of the brands’ identity, including:

  • Modernized company logos - The previously retro-inspired logos will be replaced with a bold, yet streamlined, modern typeface that combines the classy, smooth look of the original script font with an elevated sensibility; a simple yellow star will remain a focus to honor CKE’s iconic “Happy Star” heritage.
  • Food photography (including product imagery, menu boards, billboards and point-of-purchase promotional assets) - Characterized by a dark and bold richness, each menu item will see its inherent quality and dripping deliciousness put in the spotlight — literally. CKE’s menu offerings are taking center stage as the hero for this rebrand, and the company’s updated presentation style ensures nothing distracts viewers from the true star of the show: the food.

Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s will continue to serve the signature, premium-quality products that customers have come to revere, including their line of 100 percent Black Angus Beef Thickburgers®, Hand-Breaded Chicken Tenders™, Hand-Scooped Ice Cream Shakes™, and all-natural beef and chicken products, all brought directly to you with sit-down restaurant-style table service.

Follow Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s on Facebook (www.facebook.com/carlsjr and www.facebook.com/hardees), Twitter (@CarlsJr and @Hardees) and Instagram (@CarlsJr and @Hardees) for the latest product news and promotional offers. Download the Super Star® Rewards app from the iTunes Store and Google Play and check in to redeem Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s products on the spot, save points for a high-value reward, check out the full menu, and use the store locator to find any Carl’s Jr. or Hardee’s in the U.S.

About CKE Restaurants Holdings, Inc.

CKE Restaurants Holdings, Inc. (“CKE”) is a privately held company headquartered in Franklin, TN. CKE is not a franchisor and conducts substantially all of its restaurant activities and operations through its subsidiaries. Carl’s Jr. Restaurants LLC and Hardee’s Restaurants LLC own, operate and franchise the Carl’s Jr., Hardee’s, Green Burrito® and Red Burrito® concepts. Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s operate as one brand under two names, acknowledging the rich regional heritage of both banners. After opening their first New York and New Jersey restaurants in 2015 and recent international openings in Chile, Cambodia and Kenya, Carl’s Jr. Restaurants LLC and Hardee’s Restaurants LLC now have over 3,800 franchised or company-operated restaurants in 44 states and 41 foreign countries and U.S. territories. Known for its one-of-a-kind premium menu items such as 100 percent Black Angus Thickburgers®, Made from Scratch™ Biscuits and Hand-Breaded Chicken Tenders™, as well as an award-winning marketing approach, the Carl’s Jr./Hardee’s brand continues to deliver substantial and consistent growth in the U.S. and overseas. The Carl’s Jr./Hardee’s system is now 94 percent franchised, with international restaurants representing 21 percent of the system. For more information about CKE, please visit www.ckr.com or its brand sites at www.carlsjr.com and www.hardees.com.

Contacts

On behalf of CKE Restaurants Holdings, Inc.
Coast Public Relations
Kate Franklin, 818-606-9784
kate@coastprgroup.com

Contacts

On behalf of CKE Restaurants Holdings, Inc.
Coast Public Relations
Kate Franklin, 818-606-9784
kate@coastprgroup.com