Commentary

Carl's Jr. And Hardee's Serve Up 1,000-Calorie 'Most American Cheeseburger'

Sound the John Philip Sousa. In time for the traditional Memorial Day and July 4 celebrations at the local fast-food joint, Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s are rolling out a concoction called The Most American Cheeseburger. 

It “features three classic American summertime favorites in every bite: a split hot dog and Lays Kettle Cooked Potato Chips atop a charbroiled 100% Black Angus beef burger,” according to the Business Wire release. Then there’s the slice of American cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles, ketchup and mustard on a bun — all of which reportedly adds up to 1,030 calories, 64 grams of fat and 2,350 mg of sodium.

“Steer clear unless your nutrition goal is to get your total fat and saturated fat grams and daily sodium count in one dose,” Hope Warshaw, dietitian and author of Eat Out, Eat Well, tellsUSA Today’s Bruce Horovitz.

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“We've had this idea, believe it or not, for a long time,” Brad Haley, CMO of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, tells the Associated Press. 

“We do believe, you, Brad,” responds Mary Beth Quirk for the Consumerist. “Because America does seem to go for meat overdoses — remember the Arby’s Meat Mountain?”

But Haley points out to Horovitz, who seems to have had the story before anyone else on Wednesday evening, the chains have plenty of better-for-you offerings such as Turkey Burgers and lettuce-wrapped Thickburgers. “For us, this a fun, patriotic, indulgent burger,” he says. 

The Most American will cost $5.79 on its own, but it almost seems unpatriotic to chomp on one without fries and a drink, doesn’t it? That’ll be $8.29, although prices may vary by location. Get your coupons here or here! But don’t get distracted by that offer for the Mile High Bacon Egg & Cheese Combo.

While we’re on the topic, if you were wondering “but where’s the bacon?” on the Most American, there isn’t any. But “if you think about it,” explains CMO Haley, “hot dogs are cured, just like bacon, and they add a similar taste to the burger.”

True that. So what about the marketing?

“A burger this epic required an equally epic ad campaign and we’ve done just that with a new commercial starring All-American model Samantha Hoopes and pro bull rider Douglas Duncan that salutes all things American,” says CMO Haley in the release, which elaborates:

“Created by creative agency 72andSunny, the new commercial, titled ‘The Most American Thing Ever,’ showcases the most American way to enjoy a burger: viewers will see a Stars-and-Stripes bikini-clad Hoopes enjoying a Most American Thickburger in a hot tub, in the back of a pick-up truck driven by Duncan, atop an aircraft carrier, anchored in front of the Statue of Liberty.” 

It breaks June 1.

“The company is using sexual-but-patriotic imagery to promote the new meal,” writes Victor Luckerson for Time, pointing out that “follows Carl’s Jr.’s recent commercial stunt, which featured model Charlotte McKinney strutting around to promote a new ‘all-natural,’ antibiotics-free patty.”

Carl’s Jr.and Hardee’s are also testing a Flamin' Hot Cheetos and Cheddar Cheese Sauce burger, if Elie Ayrouth’s social-media sleuthing for FoodBeast is accurate. Indeed Haley would not tell Horovitz what other “wacky combo burgers” are forthcoming but the reporter seems to be hoping for a Chocolate Malt Burger.

The hed atop Kate Bratskeir’s piece for Huffington Post calls The Most American Cheeseburger “An Entire Backyard BBQ Crammed Into 1 Bun.” The article itself sits as suggestively as Hoopes above an “Also on HuffPost” slideshow titled “Horrifying Fast Food Items Of 2014.” 

No Carl’s Jr. or Hardee items made the cut last year. We suspect that they’re back in contention.

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