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The Kim Kardashian era of Carl’s Jr. is officially behind us.
The fast-food joint announced this week that it would no longer run its uber-sexy ad campaigns, which saw scantily clad models and socialites like Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian, Kate Upton and Charlotte McKinney eating burgers in a provocative manner. Instead, the company has pledged to turn its focus to — wait for it — burgers.
According to Andy Puzder, CEO of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s parent company CKE, millennial men care more about where the beef they are consuming is sourced from than about women in bikinis.
To make the transition, Carl’s Jr. has created an elaborate ad campaign that tells the story of a fictitious Carl’s Jr. founder, Carl Hardee Sr., reclaiming control of his business from Jr., his 20-something frat-boy son, who had been responsible for the company’s risque ads. (In reality, Puzder — President Donald Trump’s first nominee for labor secretary — spearheaded the ads in the early aughts and argued that they saved countless jobs. Last week, it was announced that he is being replaced by former KFC president Jason Marker.)
In the age of feminism, more and more companies have moved away from ads that rely on sex appeal. Before its demise, American Apparel ditched its “sexy” campaigns, instead focusing on a message of female empowerment. Abercrombie & Fitch, too, has shifted its “sex sells” mentality to one that instills confidence and celebrates diversity.
The new strategies of these companies reflect a greater trend toward featuring “real” people in campaigns, as well as focusing on the quality and the sourcing of the product — in this case, the beef.
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