Thursday, July 11, 2013

Epic Meal Time Hardee's ads not so epic

It should be easy. Hardee's (AKA Carl's Jr.) is a brand that embraces its Millennial male target audience like Kate Upton gropes a cheeseburger. Epic Meal Time owes its viral success to those very same young men's fascination with anti-healthy stunt eating and outrageous behaviour.

Spokesmen match made in heaven, or what?

Ignore the fact that Epic Meal Time is based in Montreal, far out of Hardee's territory. This is the internet age. Their social media cred is well established in the USA.

From the press release:
“The Super Bacon Cheeseburger is a truly epic creation that celebrates all that is glorious about bacon,” said Brad Haley, chief marketing officer of CKE Restaurants. “Who better to help us advertise it than the stars of Epic Meal Time, Harley and Muscles Glasses, whose love for bacon is so extreme that it, at times, borders on inappropriate? Our target audience of young, hungry guys spends a lot of time watching videos on YouTube, and the Epic Meal Time channel is a favorite. In the new spot, fans of Epic Meal Time will even recognize Muscles Glasses’ trademark t-shirt with ‘Bacon Strips &’ repeated several times on the front. The spot does a perfect job getting across our message that the Super Bacon Cheeseburger has a lot of bacon on it or, as the ad states, ‘bacon, bacon, bacon, bacon, bacon, bacon.’”
The pieces were all in place for an awesomely viral campaign. Except somehow, they screwed it up.


The amusingly censored profanity is there, but the ad completely lacks the manic delivery that Epic Meal Time consistently serves up. The agency, 72andSunny, couldn't help but be slaves to the conventions of fast food advertising: burger beauty shots and awkward fake eating. The result is an underwhelming campaign that diminishes both brands:

It could be the client's fault. But why would a company that has no problem using raunchy sex kittens to sell its product be so conservative when it comes to showing men? Why didn't they let Harley and Muscles Glasses create some kind of epic feast using the Super Bacon Cheeseburger as the key ingredient? The potential for something great was within reach, and yet everyone involved failed to grasp it:

Just goes to show that there is no substitute for authenticity.


  1. What about the one where the country man is talking about making love to the burger and says "In this b*tch"?

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