Carl's Jr. touts $5 meal by slamming competition in backhanded way

Kurt Braunohler for Carl's Jr. and Hardee's

Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s have launched an $5 All Star Meal, and to promote it, they took aim at the competition in a way that doesn't directly slam them, but gets the point across with a bit of humor.

To try and prove that their $5 meal is better than any other value offering out there, the brands engaged a special investigator – comedian Kurt Braunohler (host of The K Ohle podcast on the Nerdist) – to go deep into the belly of the competition to find out directly from their customers which they’d rather eat.

Braunholer's in-the-field reporting takes him to places that sound like the fast-food competition – the New York subway, a barber shop called In and Out, a place called BK Pilates and Popeye Auto Glass, interviewing people about if they can get a $5 meal better at those places. In the subway, he asks riders if they've ever had a $5 meal in the subway better than the one he's offering. The answer is an obvious no. At In and Out, he asks what he can get for $5, with the answer being a mustache trim, which doesn't taste as good as the burgers in the $5 meal.

Braunholer's easygoing take makes it humorous rather than annoying, and the participants seem genuinely engaged.

"The idea is pretty absurd, which is what we love about it. And frankly, we think it’s absurd how much better our $5 All Star Meals are than the competitors. Kurt’s made a fascinating career of bringing absurdity to the world in surprising ways. He’s an amazing performer and a great collaborator," said a Carl's Jr. spokesperson.

The campaign is by 72andSunny and is airing now online and on air. See the spots by clicking the Creative Works box below.

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Kyle O'Brien

I am a reporter for The Drum covering a wide array of topics but always trying to tell the best stories possible. I am a former west coaster from California and Portland, Oregon, now living in Pennsylvania — with time spent in NYC each week.

I also play saxophone professionally.

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