Carl’s Jr. Says This Provocative ‘Border Ball’ Ad Is About Sexy Women, Not Immigration

One of its stars disagrees

Headshot of Tim Nudd

Carl's Jr. likes being provocative, but not in the realm of politics.

That's the message from parent company CKE Restaurants, which has gone on the record to deny claims that its latest ad with scantily clad women, "Border Ball," plays off the current national debate over immigration.

The spot, from 72andSunny, broke Sept. 28. It features Texan model Elle Evans (previously seen also being scantily clad in Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" video) and Mexico City cover model Alejandra Guilmant. The ad sells the new Tex Mex Thickburger, which is apparently equal parts Tex and Mex. So, the commercial shows two women's beach volleyball teams—one from Texas, one from Mexico—trying to settle things with a game on the border.

Innocuous enough, if gratuitous in the classic Carl's Jr. style, right?

Except another of the models in the spot raised eyebrows with this statement to FOX411: "I don't think it goes too far. I think it's really sexy, and I think it's playing up on what's going on politically right now with immigration. I think it was a bold move for Carl's Jr."

Whoa there, Carl's Jr. replied.

A CKE rep quickly told Fox: "Our new ad for the Tex Mex Bacon Thickburger is not a political statement. It is simply a fast-food ad, and, like all of our ads, the premise helps to paint a picture about the food. If a connection was made between the ad and politics—it was certainly not our intent."

The rep added that the ad was simply in keeping with the chain's years-old marketing strategy of using nearly naked models and celebrities to sell sandwiches.

It's a bit of an ignominious development for an ad that 72andSunny seemed to be quite proud of. As the agency told us last week, the new spot was inspired by actual volleyball games that are played across the U.S.-Mexico border.


Brand: CKE

Project: Tex Mex Bacon Thickburger – "Borderball"

Overview: When Tex meets Mex, it's a win win.

Client: CKE

Chief Executive Officer: Andy Puzder

Chief Marketing Officer: Brad Haley

Senior Vice President, Product Marketing: Bruce Frazer

Vice President, Field Marketing, Media, Merchandising: Steve Lemley

Director of Advertising: Brandon LaChance

Director of Product Marketing, Merchandising: Christie Cooney

Product Marketing Manager: Allison Pocino

Public Relations Specialist: Claire Eastburn

Public Relations Team: Coast PR

President: Jeanne Hoffa

Director: Kate Franklin

Agency: 72andSunny

Chief Creative Officer: Glenn Cole

Group Creative Directors: Justin Hooper, Mick DiMaria

Creative Director, Designer: Tim Wettstein

Creative Director, Writer: Mark Maziarz

Senior Designer: Gabo Curielcha

Senior Writer: Chad Goodnoe

Group Strategy Director: Matt Johnson

Strategy Director: Kasia Molenda

Strategist: Eddie Moraga

Group Brand Director: Alexis Coller

Senior Brand Manager: Michal David

Brand Manager: Ali Arnold

Brand Coordinator: Kristyn Kazanjian

Director of Film Production: Sam Baerwald

Executive Film Producer: Molly McFarland

Senior Film Producer: Juliet Diamond

Film Production Coordinator: Taylor Stockwell

Director of Business Affairs: Michelle Mckinney

Business Affairs Director: Amy Jacobsen

Business Affairs Manager: Jennifer Jahinian

Business Affairs Coordinator: Taylor Henriquez

Director of Communications: Jeff Sweat

Communications Managers: Ginny Adams, Nicole Ryan

Production Company: Wondros

Director: Chris Applebaum

Chief Creative Officer: Anne-Marie Mackay

Executive Producer: Timory King

Head of Production: Doron Kauper

Producer: John Hardin

Editing: Jump LA

Editor: Fred Fouquet

Executive Producer: Betsy Beale

Visual Effects: JAMM Visual

Telecine: Beach House

Colorist: Mike Pethel

Executive Producer: Denise Brown

Audio, Sound Design: On Music and Sound

Mixer, Sound Designer: Chris Winston

Music Company: Extreme Music

@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.