Carl’s Jr. Lugs Its New Big Burger to the Airwaves

Carl’s Jr.’s TV spots, with people blissfully and loudly chowing on burgers, may have to get a bit louder.

The fast-food chain this week introduces a big new burger with a major TV and radio push from Men delsohn/Zien in Los Angeles. The item, priced at $3.95, is named “The Six Dollar Burger” to suggest it is comparable in quality to a burger from a mid-scale restaurant, said agency president Richard Zien.

The burger, which the agency helped name, is a half-pound charbroiled beef patty with two slices of cheese, red onions and bread-and-butter pickles.

“It would have been natural to make a statement about size, but what consumers are concerned about is quality,” said Zien. “At least people will understand that this is a very special sandwich.”

Four 30-second TV ads will roll out in the next month. One shows two guys eating large burgers as a group of waiters descend on a nearby table, holding sparklers and singing a frenzied “Happy Birthday.” Another has a waiter peddling desserts to a customer who’s eating a burger.

Each ad includes the voiced line: “Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just get one of those great $6 restaurant burgers … without the restaurant.”

Nine radio spots recorded around L.A. feature consumers taking blind taste tests of the burger. Asked where they think it’s from, they name such restaurants as Chili’s, TGI Friday’s, Planet Hollywood, Fuddruckers and Johnny Rockets.

Ads broke this week in L.A., Santa Barbara and Palm Springs, Calif., and are expected to roll out in the 13 states where Carl’s Jr. operates.

Spending was undisclosed. The account is budgeted at $50 million annually; this burger is expected to be the major focus for the Anaheim, Calif.-based chain this summer.

Mendelsohn/Zien has worked with Carl’s Jr. since 1995. Its ads have used the taglines “Don’t bother me. I’m eating” and “Without us, some guys would starve.”