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Back to burgers: Carl's Jr. ditches bikini-clad ads

Back to burgers: Carl's Jr. ditches bikini-clad ads”

After years of airing ads that featured almost nude models and other scantily clad women, the sibling fast-food joints have rolled out a massive rebrand campaign in hopes of convincing consumers that they care more about food than boobs. Enter ruggedly handsome Nashville star Charles Esten, cast as Carl Hardee Sr., who storms into Carl's Jr. headquarters to take back what he founded years ago from his son, Carl Hardee Jr. There's also a new slogan: "Pioneers of the Great American Burger".

The company's racy advertising campaign had a defender in Andrew Puzder, who is stepping down as CEO of the chains' parent company, CKE Restaurant Holdings. Restaurants will be remodeled into more upscale, contemporary spaces. Photos of disembodied lips, a naked woman with burgers covering her breasts, and women in bathing suits cover the walls.

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Those days are gone for hamburger chain Carl's Jr./Hardees, which is dumping its famously sexy and controversial TV commercials for ones that focus on the meat not cheesecake.

"If you've seen our ads, you know that we target young, hungry guys", Puzder previously said of the old ads.

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"Pioneering a new way of food, daring food, cutting out corners food for you", as Carl Hardee Sr. says in the ad. The elder Hardee will goes up against his son as the two tackle the Jr.'s play boy-like ad campaign while the father was away.

"They've never really gotten credit for their quality, and we want that message to land with consumers", Jason Norcross, executive creative director and partner at 72andSunny, the agency behind the new ads, told Adweek.

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These ads from the company have been severely criticized for objectifying women and with several boycott campaigns launched. "I'm sorry that they feel that way, but we saved the company with those ads, we saved a lot of jobs", Puzder, the former CEO of Carl's Jr. and Hardees, told FOX Business, earlier this month. "Some of the product attributes got lost because people were too busy ogling girls". After kicking Carl Jr. out of the way, the elder Carl gives a spiel on company history, positioning it as a good ol' family brand with quality beef - or, more succinctly, "food, not boobs".



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