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Sex Sells for Hardee's After Success With Carl's Jr.

Posted by: David Kiley on March 30, 2009

Once you have a winning formula, I guess there is no reason not to go back to the well.

Fast food burger chain Hardee’s has tapped super-model cum TV foodie Padma Lackshmi, who hosts Bravo’s Top Chef series, to do a steamy, finger-licking, sultry ad for the chain’s Western Bacon Cheeseburger.

Parent company CKE Restaurants has been down this road before with Paris Hilton and her now infamous vamping ad for Carls’ Jr. that caused such a stir. Ad agency Mendelsohn Zien,LA is the agency for both ads.

The biggest surprise, of course, is to see either of these women eating, though, to be fair, Padma is a foodie who is actually seen weekly eating on her show. Having seen her spit out some bad food on that show, it is ironic to see her scarfing down one of these oversized burgers she can scarcely fit into her waiting mouth—the special sauce literally dripping, and hanging, off her wrist and….ankle?

When the Paris Hilton ad broke, I called it smart. And I suppose this will be smart for Hardee’s. But while Paris Hilton had no reputation to protect, the same can’t be said, in my book, for Padma.

One wonders if Ms. Padma had a tax-bill she had to pay, and was short of cash. I’m sure you can defend this ad as being fun. Okay. It’s a hoot. I’ll go along. But I get slightly cheesed off when I see people whose day-job is supposed to be about good food, gourmet food, great ingredients and really well thought out food, vamping for chains whose ingredients are, shall we say, as cheap as they can be and still be legal.

Rachel Ray had a deal with Burger King at one point. Top Chef judge and co-host Tom (“it’s all about quality ingredients) Collichio shills for diet Coke. Master Mexicn cuisine chef Rick Bayless has shilled for Burger King, too. And so it goes.

It’s all about the Benjamins.

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Reader Comments

Denise Lee Yohn

March 31, 2009 8:19 PM

i actually think this one's the smart ad.

unlike the paris hilton spot which was a sophomoric, completely gratuitously sexual ad for paris (not carl's jr.), this spot actually sells hardee's new burger rather convincingly. who better to talk about mouthwatering taste than a chef? and while some of the visuals are so overt they're laughable (gosh that exploding chili pepper sure is juicy!), i think that's the point -- the spot's meant to be just over the top enough to be amusing -- and arousing -- to its target.

as for padma, i'm not a foodie so i don't know her, but i would venture to guess her q score just skyrocketed.


April 13, 2009 11:55 AM

Denise: I think it seriously undercuts her personal brand. I'm just sad that she'd sell out her integrity so quickly.

You are right that her Q score will go up substantially because of it. I guess she has nothing to lose compared to the others.

Can't ever take her seriously as a chef again, but I think she is past selling that point.


June 26, 2009 2:33 AM

these commercials just make me want to be single. I mean seriously they are totally aiming these commercials towards guys making them ALL look like disgusting sex addicts. And hey can't be a lesbian cuz they make all girls look like sluts. It's sad what tv can do to relationships no respect for women. because of tv guys treat all girls like sluts and whores. THANK YOU media

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News, opinions, inflammatory meanderings and occasional ravings about the world of advertising, marketing and media. By marketing editor Burt Helm, Innovation Editor Helen Walters, and senior correspondent Michael Arndt.

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