Fast food chains in the United States these days are working hard to get ahead with customers. McDonald's is cutting the cheeseburger from its Happy Meal menu, Burger King is switching to only poultry from quality farms, and Whataburger just gave three couples a year of Whataburger date nights, 104 meals each. Now, Carl's Jr. and Hardee's are looking to separate their audiences into two distinct regions with a special surprise.c
The next time you hear a Carl's Jr. commercial on television or the radio, take a closer listen to the voice behind the advertisement. No, you're not listening to a Whataburger commercial. And yes, that's actually Matthew McConaughey you're hearing. In the past, Carl's Jr. and Hardee's have used similar commercials and messaging to reach their audiences. Now, the brand's parent company CKR Restaurant Holdings Inc. is evolving the brands into two distinct chains.
As CKE Restaurants CEO Jason Marker said in a press release, "We're evolving the brand in a number of ways. And probably the single biggest thing since I've come on board have been the separation of two brands, and believing there are two distinct voices for the restaurants." Now, the voice of Carl's Jr. will be played by actor Matthew McConaughey with the Call of Carl's campaign. It's a multi-channel campaign that puts the burger front and center.
While Carl's Jr. and Hardee's were once known for bikini-clad models washing cars with burgers in hand, the brand is looking for a new angle for each fast food restaurant. When referring to the brand's previous direction, CEO Marker said,
"We obviously do not believe that is an appropriate campaign for today. So what we need to do though is hold on to that unique edge and opportunity that we have and build on it in a relevant, contemporary way."
For a brief brand history, Carl's Jr. began in California in 1941 and touts its Western, laid-back vibe as the hallmark of its brand. Hardee's follows suit in Southern and Midwestern states with the same message. Considering the new restaurants as two distinct brands goes against what Hardee's and Carl's Jr. worked to create for two decades, but the time for change is now.That will all change with these new campaigns from Havas Worldwide, a creative agency.
As the campaigns roll out, CKE Restaurants CEO Marker reiterated the difference between the two brands to Nation's Restaurant News, "Carl's is about boldness. Hardee's is about authenticity."
For now, we're just wondering why Whataburger never tapped Matthew McConaughey for a spokesman role as a proud Texas native, but that's a question for another day.
So the next time you have a hankering for the Western Bacon Cheeseburger, take a look at the menu and see if you can tell the difference in the separate brand campaigns. You should see the inspired work on all social channels for Hardee's brands.