Boddie-Noell Enterprises Inc., the largest Hardee’s franchise operator in the U.S. with 341 locations in the Southeast, condemned recent advertising produced by Mendelsohn Zien Advertising for Hardee’s promoting the chain’s Biscuit Holes product.
In a letter response to the Parents Television Council, which requested the advertisement be pulled from his market, Boddie-Noell chairman of the board Ben Mayo Boddie stated, “I agree with you 100 percent. Why in heaven’s name do Hardee’s Food Systems and Mendelsohn Zien Advertising want to put Hardee’s in a category that diminishes not only the product but also the brand itself?”
Boddie told the Parents Television Council that his company plans to not only block the Biscuit Holes advertising from its market but also request that Hardee’s parent company, CKE Restaurants, pull the promotional spots from markets systemwide.
The advertisements feature customers recommending names for the Biscuit Holes with suggestions like “iced B-holes,” “A-holes,” and “bis-ticles.”
Melissa Henson, director of communications and public education for the Parents Television Council, says Boddie-Noell’s motion against CKE will hopefully open the eyes of other franchise operators.
“We are certainly heartened and encouraged to see a franchisee taking a stand out of respect for the community against the offensive ad campaign by its parent ad company,” she says.
“We hope that the fact that this one franchise owner was courageous enough to stand up to the parent company and say, ‘You’re wrong,’ will get other franchise owners to do the same thing.”
Henson says that many quick-serve operators have made poor choices in recent years with their sexual and suggestive advertisements and that such marketing will only end up hurting business.
“I think they risk alienating consumers,” she says. “You might be reaching those young hungry guys, but you’re probably also alienating families. So, for every one young guy you get in the door, you might be losing out on four or five family members who are offended by the ad campaign.”
By Sam Oches