Last week, I got hold of a Burger King advertisement that seemed so inappropriate, I assumed it was a spoof. The company's IR contact, however, confirmed that the ad was part of BKC's marketing campaign in Singapore.
The picture of the ad is so distasteful I did not even want to put in this post.
After seeing this extremely distasteful ad, I did not think it could any worse. But this weekend, I learned about CKR's "Name Our Holes" marketing campaign that is being used to promote Hardee's launch of a biscuit/ doughnut hole product. And, the television commercials that are supporting this new campaign are as bad as the name would imply.
Edgy marketing is not new to CKR. The company has featured Paris Hilton wearing close to nothing to drive awareness for Carl's Jr. among its targeted "young, hungry guys." This "Name our Holes" campaign, which the company said is being used to "entertain [its] customers," reaches a new low as it relates to social acceptability. And, Hardee's demographics are different than those of Carl's Jr. I don't know if the average consumer in Hardee's home states in the Midwest and the bible belt Southeastern states will be as accepting as Carl's Jr.'s predominantly California-based customers. Looking at Carl's Jr.'s recent same-store sales trends, one might question whether the often sexually provocative advertisements are even working for that concept.
Some of the names used in the commercial are "goody balls," "ball munchers," "tasty nuts" and "iced b-holes"?
As I have said before in reference to Burger King, a successful advertising campaign is critical to driving incremental traffic into restaurants within the mature QSR market. Burger King's Sponge Bob Square Pants advertisement that featured a beloved children's character along with women dancing suggestively drew criticism and seemed to do nothing to drive traffic (company experienced significant traffic declines in March which appears to continue into the most recent quarter).