July 22, 2009

Hardee’s No. 1 franchisee nixes ‘holes’ ad

The biggest Hardee's franchisee has refused to run a racy TV ad for the No. 4 U.S. fast-food chain's new Biscuit Holes because it is pushing the boundaries.

Ben Mayo Boddie, chairman of Boddie-Noell Enterprises Inc. of Rocky Mount, N.C., says he is outraged by the commercial to name the Hardee's fried biscuit holes with icing.

The ad, from Los Angeles agency Mendelsohn Zien Advertising, asks consumers to Name Our Holes, with people on the street suggesting names such as goody balls, creamy sweet holes, cinnanuts and ball munchers, Advertising Age reported Wednesday.

The commercial puts Hardee's in a category that diminishes not only the product but the brand itself, Boddie said in a letter to the Parents Television Council, which also complained about the ad.

The Hardee's marketing team seems intent on pushing the boundaries at every turn, the letter said.

Boddie said his company, which owns nearly 350 Hardee's restaurants, covering most of North Carolina, would not place this spot in any markets that we have control.

He also asked Hardee's owner CKE Restaurants Inc. of Anaheim, Calif., which also owns and franchises the Carl's Jr. chain, to eliminate the commercials in all markets.

A CKE statement said the commercials, which air after 9 p.m., target young, hungry guys.

We do not aim to exclude or offend any other group with our efforts, but merely to appeal and amuse a very specific audience, the statement said.

CKE does not plan to drop the ads, the statement said.