Christopher Adams

Christopher Adams is the Markets and Banking reporter for the New Zealand Herald

Carl's Jr looks to social media after TV ban

Most of the brand's US-made ads feature content similar to one banned here because it uses sexual appeal in an exploitative and degrading manner.
Most of the brand's US-made ads feature content similar to one banned here because it uses sexual appeal in an exploitative and degrading manner.

The banning of a racy television advertisement for Carl's Jr burger chain is a setback for Restaurant Brands as the company embarks on its push to take the burger chain nationwide, a branding expert says.

The Commercial Approvals Bureau (CAB), a body owned by the local TV networks which must approve advertisements before they air on New Zealand television, last week ruled the American-made advert for the chain's Memphis BBQ Burger - which has aired in the US and Mexico and features two scantily-clad young women eating and grilling burgers - could not screen in this country because it uses sexual appeal in an exploitative and degrading manner as well as using sex to sell an unrelated product.

Restaurant Brands chief executive Russel Creedy, whose listed company is one of two local franchisees of the American fast food business, told the Business Herald last week that it would be too expensive to make its own Carl's Jr TV commercials.

As most of the brand's US-made adverts featured similar content, the company would be forced to use social media to promote the chain if its style of advertising could not be aired, he said.

James Bickford, New Zealand managing director of global branding agency Interbrand, said the CAB's ruling was a blow for Restaurant Brands.

"For a challenger brand coming into a market, TV is the platform to get the message across to the widest audience in the fastest way."

Retail analyst Tim Morris, of market research firm Coriolis, questioned if social media could cut the mustard as a marketing tool for Carl's Jr.

"Every ad agency and its dog is out there selling social media but does it actually do anything?

"It's like wetting yourself in a dark suit - you get a warm feeling but no one notices."

AUT University senior lecturer in advertising Martin Waiguny said social media could be more effective for capturing the attention of Carl's Jr's target demographic - young men - than television.

Creedy could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Restaurant Brands, which plans to establish 60 Carl's Jr stores across the country, currently has two stores in Mangere and Palmerston North and will open a third on Auckland's Queen St next month.

Forsgren NZ, a company part-owned by former All Black Michael Jones, is operating five stores in Auckland and will open three more sites in the city.

Shares in Restaurant Brands - which also operates KFC, Starbucks and Pizza Hut in New Zealand - closed up 3c yesterday at $2.85.

- NZ Herald

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