Carl's Jr., Hardee's Launch Bourbon-Spiced Ad Campaign

Heidi-Klum-BCKE Restaurant chains Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s are launching a tangy new burger with a whiskey-flavored sauce this week. And the company’s ad shop -- 72andSunny, a unit of MDC Partners --  is launching a spicy new ad campaign to kick off the marketing effort.

The new Jim Beam Bourbon Burger features a sauce with the distilled spirit of the same name. The ads will feature supermodel Heidi Klum in the role of an updated “Mrs. Robinson,” based on the iconic character made famous by Anne Bancroft in the1960s movie "The Graduate," which also starred Dustin Hoffman. 

The ad kicks off March 25 on national TV.

CKE spends an estimated $60 million to $70 million a year on ads. The company declined to disclose spending for the new bourbon burger campaign.

CKE restaurants have long used scantily clad and sexy models to boost their burgers and other meals. Paris Hilton famously chomped on a Carl’s burger in a 2005 spot donning a black leather dominatrix style getup while washing a car. "Sports Illustrated" swimsuit models Nina Agdal (appearing topless) and Kate Upton have recently appeared in Carl’s ads, too.

"Higher-end restaurants have long served menu items flavored with branded spirits but, until now, they had yet to find their way onto fast-food menus and we considered it our mission to change that,” stated Brad Haley, CMO for Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s.

The Jim Beam Bourbon Burger will compete with TGI Friday’s Jack Daniels Burger. The latter has been on TGI’s menu for several years.

According to Glenn Cole, Chief Creative Officer at 72andSunny, the "Mrs. Robinson" theme is a “fun and irreverent way to introduce the mature taste of bourbon to hungry guys.”

CKE reported revenues of more than $1.3 billion for its recently ended fiscal year 2013, up nearly 4% from the prior year.

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