For Carl’s Jr., the Doctor Is in the House

LOS ANGELES A 30-second spot for Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s features the advertising debut of Dr. Robert Rey, star of E! Entertainment’s plastic-surgery reality series Dr. 90201.

The commercial, crafted by Mendelsohn/Zien Advertising and breaking this week, plays with the brand’s penchant for using sexually suggestive images in its ads.

The scene opens on attractive women in the doctor’s waiting room. Adopting the hand-held shooting style of the reality series, the camera follows Dr. Rey through his paces as he offers his patients robes and pulls out calipers to take measurements.

“In your case it would build your self-confidence if you were bigger—probably even a lot bigger,” the doctor says, apparently referring to a patient’s breasts. The camera pulls back to reveal that he is consulting with a hen.

A voiceover says, “Naturally larger chicken breasts, on the Bacon Swiss Crispy Chicken sandwich.” (Hardee’s regions have a tag promoting the Big Chicken Filet.)

Brett Morgen, who made the movie The Kid Stays in the Picture, directed the spot.

The client spent $60 million and $40 million respectively on ads for Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s last year, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

“Dr. Rey ad-libbed most of his dialogue,” said Claudia Caplan, CMO of the Hakuhodu-backed Los Angeles agency. “We were interested in mimicking the vibe of the reality show.”

Caplan said the brand, notorious for spots starring Hugh Hefner and Paris Hilton, sought to continue the titillation trend in this new work.

“Having the reputation Carl’s has, we have license to play with people’s heads more,” she said. “It makes the reveal that much more entertaining.”