Hardee’s Food Systems, Inc. announced today that it has awarded its national creative advertising account to Cliff Freeman & Partners. The New York-based agency will be responsible for national creative duties for the restaurant chain’s estimated $80 million advertising account.

“We are truly thrilled with the addition of Cliff Freeman & Partners to the Hardee’s team and believe they will play a key role in strengthening the appeal and overall image of the Hardee’s brand,” said Brad Haley, Hardee’s recently appointed executive vice president of marketing. “Cliff Freeman & Partners not only has an impressive track record in our industry, but we believe they are the most creative agency working today. The campaign idea we opted for is incredibly fun and quintessentially Hardee’s, leveraging such brand equities as our great, made from scratch food and hometown heritage.” Haley said he expected Hardee’s new advertising to debut during the first quarter of 2001.

The agency selection committee, which included Hardee’s senior management and franchisees, heard presentations immediately following the recent International Hardee’s Franchise Association Convention in Nashville, Tennessee. Haley added that the timing was fortuitous since the franchise community had just been briefed on the overall brand direction and key advertising strategies during the convention.

Hardee’s new agency partner joins the company at a time when the restaurant chain is refocusing on quality, cleanliness and fast, friendly service in its restaurants. “We were looking for an advertising campaign that would let consumers know we’re going back to the basics and providing the kind of food quality and service levels that they associated with Hardee’s in prior years,” said Andy Puzder, Hardee’s president and chief executive officer. “Cliff Freeman & Partners did just that, and we fully expect that the new advertising will drive consumers into our restaurants, and our employees will give them an experience that will make them want to come back again and again.”

Cliff Freeman and Partners was founded in 1987 by Cliff Freeman, Arthur Bijur and Peter Regan. Known for its strong creative work, Cliff Freeman & Partners garnered the “Agency of the Year” award two of the past three years from Creativity Magazine. The group is, perhaps, best known for its Wendy’s “Where’s the Beef?” and Little Caesar’s “Pizza! Pizza!” campaigns, two of the most recalled advertising campaigns of all time. Current clients include Coca-Cola Classic, Budget Rent a Car, Staples Office Supply and FOX Sports.

“We are very excited to join the Hardee’s team,” said Cliff Freeman, the agency’s chairman, chief creative officer. “We have a wonderful opportunity here to remind consumers of all the unique things Hardee’s has to offer in terms of food and atmosphere, and the brand has 40 years of history to draw from.”

Media buying duties for the Hardee’s brand will continue to be handled by the company’s three regional agencies: Jordan Associates of Oklahoma City, OK, Keller Crescent Co. of Evansville, IN, and Lewis Advertising of Rocky Mount, NC.

Hardee’s Food Systems, Inc., based in Rocky Mount, NC, is a wholly owned subsidiary of CKE Restaurants, Inc. of Anaheim, Calif. CKE Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE: CKR) is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange as CKR. Hardee’s operates a system of approximately 2,750 company and franchised restaurants in 37 states and 11 foreign countries.

News, Hardee's