Sex Sells for Hardee's After Success With Carl's Jr.

Once you have a winning formula, I guess there is no reason not to go back to the well.

Fast food burger chain Hardee’s has tapped super-model cum TV foodie Padma Lackshmi, who hosts Bravo’s Top Chef series, to do a steamy, finger-licking, sultry ad for the chain’s Western Bacon Cheeseburger.

Parent company CKE Restaurants has been down this road before with Paris Hilton and her now infamous vamping ad for Carls’ Jr. that caused such a stir. Ad agency Mendelsohn Zien,LA is the agency for both ads.

The biggest surprise, of course, is to see either of these women eating, though, to be fair, Padma is a foodie who is actually seen weekly eating on her show. Having seen her spit out some bad food on that show, it is ironic to see her scarfing down one of these oversized burgers she can scarcely fit into her waiting mouth—the special sauce literally dripping, and hanging, off her wrist and….ankle?

When the Paris Hilton ad broke, I called it smart. And I suppose this will be smart for Hardee’s. But while Paris Hilton had no reputation to protect, the same can’t be said, in my book, for Padma.

One wonders if Ms. Padma had a tax-bill she had to pay, and was short of cash. I’m sure you can defend this ad as being fun. Okay. It’s a hoot. I’ll go along. But I get slightly cheesed off when I see people whose day-job is supposed to be about good food, gourmet food, great ingredients and really well thought out food, vamping for chains whose ingredients are, shall we say, as cheap as they can be and still be legal.

Rachel Ray had a deal with Burger King at one point. Top Chef judge and co-host Tom (“it’s all about quality ingredients) Collichio shills for diet Coke. Master Mexicn cuisine chef Rick Bayless has shilled for Burger King, too. And so it goes.

It’s all about the Benjamins.

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