$137.8B U.S. ad spend for top 200 advertisers
To promote Carl's Jr's latest heart-stopping burger, the company decided to double up on one of its favorite recipes: sex.
The ad from 72andsunny promotes the chain's Texas BBQ Thickburger. It begins by cutting between shots of Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Hannah Ferguson soaping down a big, muddy pickup truck and digging into the monster sandwich, which improbably tops a layer of beef brisket with a burger patty and some fried things called jalapeno straws.
But mid-bite, a shred of jalapeno straw falls off the sandwich onto the car, a dire situation that none other than Paris Hilton has to come in and clean up.
"You missed a spot," Ms. Hilton says.
The commercial, titled "I Love Texas," closes a circle that Carl's Jr opened up in 2005, when Ms. Hilton appeared in a Carl's Jr. ad (below) so provocative it attracted the ire of the Parents Television Council."The Paris Hilton/Carl's Jr. commercial is nothing but a sleazy attempt on Carl's Jr. part to make money selling burgers with pornography," the group wrote in a position statement.
In response, Carl's Jr. CEO Andy Puzder told the group to "get a life," and Puzder and ads have been running with that template ever since. To date, Heidi Klum, Kim Kardashian, Jenny McCarthy, Audina Partridge, Nina Agdal, Emily Ratajkowski and Kate Upton (to name just a few) have all appeared in variations of Ms. Hilton's ad, and the complaints (er, earned media) continued to roll in.
Back in 2012, a petition calling for Carl's Jr's Kate Upton ad to be banned gathered hundreds of signatures on Change.org, and last year, the feminist website Jezebel wrote an article about the ads called "Put It In My Mouth: A History of Disgusting Carl's Jr Ads."