Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s Back With 72andSunny as Creative AOR

Six years later, a return to the agency with a new Chief Brand Officer

Person drinking from Carl's Jr. cup; Carl's Jr logo
Carl's Jr

CKE Restaurant Holdings has returned to former creative partner 72andSunny as creative agency of record for its Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s brands.

The appointment follows Chad Crawford joining the company as chief brand officer following eight years at Popeyes, as well as an unofficial creative review limited to former creative agency partners. As creative agency of record, 72andSunny will be tasked dual-brand creative as well as brand-specific creative for both the Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s brands.

CKE Restaurants spent around $108 million on marketing for Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s in 2018 and nearly $32 million in the first six months of 2019, down from around $59 million over that period last year, according to Kantar Media.

“72andSunny helped make Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s ‘impossible to ignore’ for six years,” Crawford said in a statement. “I’m confident they can make both brands ‘impossible to ignore’ again, but in a fresh, new way that reflects the ever-changing marketplace, and I’m excited about the insight and positioning that we have unlocked as a foundation for our new creative expression and look forward to seeing that come to life.”

Crawford’s statement seems to allude to a continued shift away from the oft-criticized sexualized ads 72andSunny had evolved beyond in its last campaign for the brand during its previous tenure as agency of record.

“Here’s the opportunity for 72andSunny to work with two iconic brands with massive potential, and incredible partners who share our ambition to shoot for the moon,” added 72andSunny New York president Jess Monsey. “As you can probably imagine, we’re feeling very excited about what’s to come.”

Carl’s Jr./Hardee’s split with 72andSunny as agency of record followed a creative review launched in October of 2017, with Havas taking over as agency of record in early 2018 and launching a campaign promoting the Western Bacon Cheeseburger which featured the voice of Matthew McConaughey. However, Havas’ tenure didn’t last long. For a time, Carl’s Jr. and sister brand Hardee’s pursued separate creative paths.

A team led by Arnold began working on creative for Hardee’s last November. Carl’s Jr. split from its sister brand to launch another creative review at the beginning of 2019. The Carl’s Jr. review reportedly included Arnold seeking to pick up additional work for Carl’s Jr., as well as Argonaut, Camp+King, The Community San Francisco and M/H VCCP. The chain reportedly extended the review in March, then limited to finalists Argonaut and The Community San Francisco. While it doesn’t seem a winner was ever officially announced, Argonaut launched a campaign for the brand promoting its Big Wolf Combo last month.

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