Supermodels, cheeseburgers, bikinis and fast food are rarely mentioned in the same sentence. Carl’s Jr, a popular fast food chain located mainly on the West Coast, takes a completely opposite approach from Wendy’s when managing their brand image. Carl’s Jr. is known for pushing the envelope on their television commercials in an arguably risqué and controversial manner. In years past, they have used celebrities such as Paris Hilton, Audrina Patridge, Padma Lakshmi, and more recently Kim Kardashian as Spokespeople.
The message they are hoping to convey to consumers is brazenly obvious – These celebrities eat our fast food and they are still skinny and beautiful. OK, so this might be unrealistic and deceptive…but it’s an effective approach nonetheless. Carl’s Jr is well aware that consumers idolize these celebrities. Associating Paris Hilton, for example, with their brand, is a very persuasive tactic that has a compelling influence on consumers.
Take a look at this Carl’s Jr commercial with Audrina Patridge in which she absurdly says things like ”to look this hot in a bikini (as she eats a HUGE cheeseburger on the beach)” or “I call it my bikini burger.” She then bites into a burger so enormous that it looks like it should be consumed by Adam Richman on “Man Vs. Food”. I admit, it’s almost comical watching this commercial as you can see right through the gimmick – but I’m sure you get the point.
It’s doubtful that you will see Kirstie Alley, Rosie O’ Donnell, or any celebrity with a thyroid condition appear on a Carl’s Jr commercial any time soon. If Precious aka Gabourey Sidibe’s father was Carl Sr. himself, I can guarantee you that she would be shunned from the family business. There is no chance in hamburger hell that Precious would ever star in a Carl Jr commercial regardless of her bloodline.
This was Wendy’s critical error as I explained in my previous post. Having the real-life Wendy walk on-screen was groundbreaking (no pun intended) in the sense that she was the first overweight Spokesperson to ever star in a fast food commercial. Purely from a marketing standpoint, there is reason why this has NEVER happened before. Consumers are well aware that fast food can lead to obesity but they choose to ignore it; they don’t need to be reminded of it. It’s almost as if they sign a mental waiver form when circling around that drive-thru and “super-sizing” their meals.
I’ll leave that up to you to decide.