HARDEE'S LEAPS TO NEW SHOP AS SALES CONTINUE TO PLUMMET $100 MIL ACC'T PULLED FROM ANGOTTI AS CHAIN TURNS FOCUS TO SATISFACTION

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Hardee's Food Systems, in a scramble to stem a perennial sales drop, is switching ad agencies again.

The nation's fourth-largest burger chain last week moved the creative portion of its $100 million account to Leap Partnership, Chicago, just eight months after awarding the business to Angotti, Thomas, Hedge, New York.

The 2,900-unit chain said it wants Leap to create advertising that better communicates the "rich, satisfying aspects of Hardee's food."

`GO ALL OUT' OUT

Five months ago, Hardee's launched a major new campaign from Angotti with a humorous approach and a tagline, "Go all out" (AA, April 20).

Leap's first work is expected to break in January.

Hardee's was acquired by CKE Restaurants 15 months ago. Since then, CKE has been searching for fixes as losses continue to mount.

Hardee's U.S. sales last year fell 10.2% to $2.7 billion. For the most recent quarter, same-store sales fell 9.7%.

Howard Penney, an analyst with Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co., applauded the agency switch.

"The commercials weren't working. Hardee's needs to get a chihuahua," he said, referring to the chihuahua mascot that has helped sales at Taco Bell.

Barrie Hedge, Angotti's president and director of strategic planning, said he's proud of the shop's work for Hardee's.

"Do we wish it had a little more time? Of course," he said.

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