Monday, November 24, 2003

More on Hugh Hefner selling fast food...

No, the title isn't supposed to be read moron Hugh Hefner selling fast food. I blogged earlier about the fact that a primarily West Coast fast food chain, Carl's Jr., is using Hugh Hefner in its latest ad campaign. The Orange County (CA) Register's Business section has an article titled, Sexy Sales Pitch, outlining the last 9 years of advertising based on Carl's Jr. working with the Mendelsohn/Zien ad agency in Los Angeles. The article states, "The campaign has employed everything from controversial celebrities to sexual overtones as it tries to energize the chain's loyal customer base, 18- to 35-year-old males, while exercising a rare willingness to offend a few folks." For one, I believe their rare willingness to offend is a precisely calculated move. For another, I think the claim that their customer base is 18 - 35 year-old males is nothing more than a smokescreen. Remember people, this is a fast food chain. "Ponder the latest TV ads. One features an attractive lady seductively riding a mechanical bull while enjoying a burger. Foghat's hard-charging "Slow Ride" plays in the background. Need I say more? Then come spots featuring Hefner, the founder of Playboy magazine, who at age 77 still relishes the classic bachelor life that his publication portrays. Hefner's pitching an expanded line of upscale burgers with ads noting that variety - wink-wink - is the spice of life." Those of us who grew up in southern California know that Carl's Jr. was not always like this. The founder, Carl Karcher, established the chain on a solid work ethic and was "a man known for conservative political views and Christian ethics." But Carl no longer runs the company. Greed does. The execs in charge are unrepentant over their regression which, as point of fact, has turned the company's fortunes around. ""I don't think we've run an ad that we haven't gotten some complaints about," notes Andy Puzder, Carl's Jr.'s chief exec, who was asked to resign from the board of Thomas Aquinas College, a small Catholic school in Santa Paula, due to the Hefner ads. "I run the company, but I'm not the creative police. We've been very successful with (Mendelsohn/Zien) and I support them."" The Carl's Jr. website has a link to post comments. If you have ever frequented their chain, then let them know how you feel about their ad campaigns... heck, even if you have never seen a Carl's Jr., let them know how you feel. But don't expect a cozy response. Here's the text of the e-mail I received after voicing my objections to their Hugh Hefner ad and after stating that we would not frequent their establishment so long as they ran those ads. ============================================= Subject: A Thank You Message From Carl's Jr. Date: Mon, 24 Nov 2003 15:37:47 -0800 Thank you for your message regarding recent Carl's Jr. advertising featuring a young woman riding a mechanical bull and -- in another spot -- Hugh Hefner. While reasonable people can certainly disagree as to the impact of our advertising, we'd like you to know that it is targeted toward a specific audience -- young men between 18 and 34 years old. It is not intended to appeal to children; and, therefore, we do not attempt to run it at times or during programs that children would typically view. Regardless, we regret that you took offense to the contents of the ads -- that was not our intention. We appreciate the time you have taken to express your concerns. Rest assured, your feedback is taken directly to our executives at the highest level within the Carl's Jr. organization. We hope to have the opportunity to serve you in the future. Sincerely, Caroline Leakan Vice President, Corporate Communications ============================== Ask your friends to contact Carl's Jr. AND to stop buying meals there. It seems that the only message they understand is MONEY... so it's up to the buying public to shut down their revenue. Then go to In-n-Out Burger and let them know you appreciate the fact that they do not resort to using sex to sell their product AND that you will be buying meals from them.

No comments: