Carl’s Jr. has tried all kinds of creative tacks since its pivotal 2017 campaign, from 72andSunny, in which a fictional “Carl Hardee Sr.” apologized for the sexist ads perpetrated by his son, the hedonistic “Carl Hardee Jr.,” and pledged to focus instead on the brand’s food.
Over the past 12 months, the QSR brand’s ads have tweaked its competition with a “taco randomizer”; ostensibly tried to get Amazon to acquire it by using a tweeting campaign; touted its own Oscars-timed Twitter awards show; and offered Froot Loops Donuts.
The many ads produced over the years to appeal to Carl’s Jr.’s “young, hungry guys” audience base by featuring clichéd “scantily clad” women (frequently supermodels) included a particularly notorious 2005 ad featuring Paris Hilton washing a Bentley while somehow simultaneously devouring a burger.
Now, Havas Chicago, which became the brand’s lead creative agency this year, is tweaking Carl’s Jr.’s past politically incorrect advertising — which looks even more dated in the relatively recent era of #MeToo.
The new campaign — dubbed “Famous Stars Eating Famous Stars” (the “Famous Star” being a popular Carl’s Jr. menu item) — is kicking off with new ads featuring Australian Instagram star Celeste Barber parodying the Hilton ad. In the 30-second ad (below), Barber, who’s gained millions of followers by mocking the celebrity culture with her own parodies, is shown washing an old station wagon, and falling over as she tries to eat a Famous Star in the process.
In other ads--spanning network, cable and spot TV, spot radio, paid social media and FSIs--Barber is shown clumsily trying to eat Famous Star Burgers while engaged in other day-to-day activities.
The campaign will also include celebrities--including Joey King, Hunter King and Ashlee Simpson Ross--eating Famous Star Burgers in Instagram posts and at young-hungry-guy-friendly events.
Earlier this year, Havas created ads that were decidedly focused on the brand’s food, with fast close-ups of its burgers and clever voiceovers by (an unidentified) Matthew McConaughey, along with Instagram promos by other celebrities.