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Carl's Jr. and Hardee's get separate personas from new AOR Havas, plus the voice of Matthew McConaughey

To most consumers, Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s are essentially the same restaurants, and their creative campaigns have tied together in nearly everything except name. Now, CKE Restaurants, the parent company of both brands, is letting new creative agency of record (AOR) Havas Chicago make two separate personas for the burger joints, featuring a new campaign for Carl’s Jr. voiced by Matthew McConaughey.

CKE Restaurants announced that it will create two separate, distinct brands, under CKE while keeping the “quality, taste and value of the food firmly as the star,” according to a release. A major step in the brand evolution comes with the selection of Havas Chicago as AOR, now responsible for digital, social, TV, and radio content needs for both brands. Havas will build separate brand identities for Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, starting immediately with Carl’s Jr.

“Carl’s Jr. has been, and always will be a brand that’s impossible to ignore,” said Jeff Jenkins, chief marketing officer of CKE Restaurant, Inc. “We are excited to partner with Havas, whose reputation for breakthrough creative aligns perfectly with our vision for these two brands moving forward, to put our great tasting food at the forefront of the business.”

Carl’s Jr., once known for its use of scantily clad women eating burgers in its ads, gets the first shot, with a new multi-channel campaign and voice. The campaign is voiced by Matthew McConaughey, who also drives the ads for Lincoln and Wild Turkey. On this campaign, the brand embarks on a crusade to create a ‘crave culture’ around the brand’s Western Bacon Cheeseburger. In the spot, McConaughey glides over a beat poet-style cadence full of alliteration and plenty of juicy shots of the burger. Other elements include gifs and radio.

“The speed of marketing today is leaving brands and traditional agencies behind,” said Jason Peterson, chairman and chief creative officer, Havas Creative, US. “By shifting both our thinking and making from ‘creatives’ to ‘creators,’ we’re able to come up with culturally relevant ideas and create and execute them with immediacy. As a brand that understands the need to be one step ahead of culture, CKE embraced this model and knew this is what it would take to create inspired work for both brands.”

Carl’s Jr. has put forth several campaigns over the past few months. Recently, Carl’s Jr. launched a three-second 'Big Game' spot to support its first-ever Charbroiled Sliders menu launch and touted its $5 meals with a man on the street campaign by 72andSunny. This momentum and support has led to the opening of Carl’s Jr.’s flagship restaurant in Manhattan, in addition to the 23 new restaurants opened in January, including international growth in Mexico, France, Spain and Cambodia.

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