Hamburger buns are fast food's newest battlefield, if Carl's Jr.
and Hardee's have anything to do with it. The fast feeders' latest
campaign touts fresh-baked buns at each of their resturants and
takes aim at competitors who bake their bread off premise.
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The chains, purchased by Roark Capital Group this month, are
releasing a pair of ads that specifically call out McDonald's,
Burger King and Wendy's for the fact that those chains don't bake
their hamburger buns at each restaurant. Another ad in the campaign
doesn't mention the competitors, but employs a "fun take on
peoples' love for great buns," said CMO Brad Haley. Yes, the spots
includes shots of derrieres.
The campaign targets competitors "to point out the fact that
this is a big quality statement in the industry," said Mr. Haley.
Of course, Subway has long been baking its bread at its locations,
as has Panera, but Mr. Haley said this is a first for major
fast-food burger chains.
Wendy's this year rolled out several limited-time offers on
premium buns -- though they were not baked at each Wendy's location
-- including its Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger, the Pretzel Pub
Chicken Sandwich, and the Bacon Portabella Melt on Brioche, which
is currently being advertised. The chain said in August that the
Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger was on-track to become its best-selling
new product in nearly a decade, though no formal announcement has
been made on whether it will become a permanent item. Wendy's also
rolled out whole-grain flatbreads this spring.
At Carl's Jr. and Hardee's, the new buns will be permanent items
and served with the chains' third-pound and $6 burgers. While the
buns are baked at each location, they arrive at the restaurants in
frozen dough form. The genesis of baking at each location was
Carl's Jr.'s rollout of fresh-made breakfast biscuits last year.
The chain looked for other bread opportunities since ovens were
installed at all locations. Hardee's has been offering fresh-made
biscuits for 30 years, Mr. Haley said.
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The campaign was created by Los Angeles-based 72andSunny and will include radio, print and
digital buys, along with content partnerships with BuzzFeed and The
Chive. The BuzzFeed content will include a sponsored post in the
form of the ubiquitous BuzzFeed numbered list -- a list of images
of "great buns of all types," said Mr. Haley.
In all, the campaign will amount to about $20 million in paid
media. Last year, Carl's Jr. spent about $40.3 million on U.S.
measured media, according to Kantar Media, while Hardee's spent
about $26.1 million.
Carl's Jr. and Hardee's in December will launch a new burger,
the Philly Cheesesteak Burger, which will be served on the new bun
and Philadelphia Eagle Terrell Owens will appear in TV spots for
the item starting in late December.
Maureen covers agencies as well as all things mobile, including the carriers, handsets and advertising, for Ad Age out of San Francisco. She previously wrote about the marketing of the fast food industry for Ad Age while also covering the agency world. Before entering reporting, she was Ad Age's research editor, helping lead research and analysis for the publication's reports including the Agency Report, Leading National Advertisers and 100 Leading Media Companies.