Food Fight: Burger Chain Claims Competitor’s a Copy Cat

In reading Kamau High’s article, “McD’s Intros ‘Burgercon'” [June 14, adweek.com], we were surprised to see a description of what looks and sounds suspiciously like the Burger Slayer promotion that we ran online for our Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s chains last summer.

N.Y. Times online first announced our promotion in July 2006 (“Campaign Spotlight: Burger Lovers Say Cheese”). The Burger Slayer promotion for Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s had an interactive component, wherein guests snapped cell phone pictures of themselves “slaying” a burger in our restaurants and we put them online for votes. The rockin’ theme and the emphasis on a community/interactive experience were big contributors to the success we achieved with the promotion, and are what Messrs. [Kevin] Flatt [Tribal DDB ecd] and [Douglas] Freeland [director of U.S. marketing at McDonald’s] speak so glowingly of as they describe the version they created for McDonald’s a year after we ran ours.

We won an OMMA Award for the Burger Slayer work, and are flattered to see McDonald’s imitating it so closely, but disturbed that they seem to be positioning it as their original concept.

An archive of the site is still running at burgerslayer.spacedoghouse.com. Maybe your readers would like to decide for themselves what the source of inspiration was for McDonald’s “burger con?”

Christie Cooney

Manager, online marketing Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s Restaurants

Carpinteria, Calif.

Nair’s Revamped Skin Show Spot Doesn’t Convert Nonbeliever

I loved your article on Nair and its new TV spot [“Short Shorts Redux,” April 30]. It made me laugh my shorts off. Nair is a pretty lame product as far as hair removal goes. It still burns and it stinks. As for the TV: Sack everyone involved.

Laura Little

Photo producer


New York

Sony Q&A Sparks Comment From Former Employee

I enjoyed the article about Sony [“How Sony Plans to Bring Excitement Back to Brand,” May 14]. Over a nine-year period, I worked for a Sony agency and in-house for the company. I believe the technology and innovation has always been there. However, in recent years the physical packaging and the ease of use of its products has declined.

I agree with [Stuart] Redsun [Sony marketing svp] that most of the advertising over the past few years has been fragmented and has not always contributed to the overall brand. Additionally, from my experience Sony has not stayed with a strategic position, agency or CMO long enough to give itself a chance to regain the “wow” it once had. Ideally, Redsun and the agencies he employs will be given the three-five years it will take to accomplish this.

Chuck Brauer

Director, client services

Maricich Advertising & Communications

Irvine, Calif.

Childhood Obesity Blamed On Electronic Media, Advertising

Mark Dolliver’s Consumer column [“Serving Up Blame for Kids’ Obesity,” June 25] has it wrong. The truth is that media and advertising are very much a part of the problem. The number of commercials today are less important than they were back in 1977, since in 1977 children were not encouraged to go to a Web site or download adver-games. In addition, children are spending much more time with electronic media than ever before—certainly they are spending more time with these gadgets than they did in 1977, when most of these products were not even invented.

One study after another demonstrates that the amount of time a child sits in front of a screen, television, game or computer the more likely they are to become overweight or obese. Add to that the abundant promotion of unhealthy food and drink and the links to Web sites and games, and you have a bonanza of bad habits being ingrained in young minds unable to differentiate between the advertising and the programming.

Although the FTC study suggests a modest reduction in food advertising directed at children, we also have to take in to account that children are watching more and more programming that is not “children’s programming.” Food advertised on those television shows or that are imbedded in the content of the films and adult programming (where product placement is permitted) are not counted in the FTC numbers, but certainly register in children’s minds.

So whether you like it or not, media and advertising do play a serious role in the obesity crisis we now face here in the United States, one that will only get worse unless there are a great many more Kellogg’s willing to step up and take that first step in doing what is right. Many of us hope Kellogg’s will go even further and push the envelope more so that others will at least start on the path towards a healthier America.

Robert Kesten

Executive director

Center for Screen-time Awareness

Washington, D.C.