There's a new spicy burger at Carl's Jr. and Hardee's today—the Thickburger El Diablo. And it's being marketed as the "hottest burger in fast food."
Created by 72andSunny in Los Angeles, the new burger came out of an assignment to appeal to the large and growing Hispanic market in Carl's Jr.'s core Southwest market, according to Brad Haley, chief marketing officer for CKE Restaurants, parent company of Carl's Jr. and Hardee's.
But the fast-food chain decided the burger could appeal to consumers at its nearly 3,000 locations nationwide, considering 56 percent of American homes have hot sauce in the fridge, according to NPD research. "Americans' tastes are getting more and more comfortable with flavor, with spice," said Haley.
The Thickburger El Diablo, created by 72andSunny's art director and designer Gabo Curielcha, has sliced jalapenos, jalapeno poppers, pepper-jack cheese and spicy habanaro-bacon sauce. It's slated to be in all Carl's Jr. and Hardee's locations for the next four to five months as a limited-time offer.
If sales are solid, the fast-food chain will consider adding the burger to its regular menu. A crispy chicken sandwich version of the El Diablo is also available, and Haley said the brand "will likely be testing a version of this product as a breakfast sandwich."
"Typically, hot products in fast food aren't really that hot," said Justin Hooper, group creative director at 72andSunny. "They have to cater to everyone. With this one, we really went all in on the hot, on the spice. We came up with the name 'El Diablo' because we want consumers to understand immediately that this is really the hottest burger in fast food."
To introduce the new burger, 72andSunny created two television spots featuring Victoria's Secret model Sara Sampaio.
The campaign also has a social component, with the hashtag #DiabloDare, which challenges the brand's target audience to try the burger and share their experience on social media for a chance to win prizes.
Check out one of the new spots below: