Havas and Hardee’s serve up “Hick-Hop” for ‘Merica


No, that wasn’t a Chevy Truck spot we just watched. It was Hardee’s.

However, if one wasn’t paying too much attention, the new anthemic, feel-good spot which introduces the concept of “comfort culture” could get mistaken for something that rolled out of Detroit.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Hardee’s, which is Carl’s Jr on the west coast, hasn’t really had an image to speak of. The chain certainly didn’t try and match their counterpart with over-the-top, sexed up (which has now gone away) advertising. No, Hardee’s has gone for a direction they call, “comfort culture.” The Tennessee-based brand says it’s a “down home, done right” approach to food, from 100 percent Black Angus thickburgers, made-from-scratch biscuits, hand-Breaded Chicken Tenders, to hand-scooped milkshakes, and everything that surrounds it – including advertising and marketing.

In other words, ‘Merica.

The campaign, created by Havas Chicago, is appropriately titled, “Tastes Like America” which speaks to middle ‘Merica – a group that has felt largely ignored by politicians, entertainment and brands for quite some time. All one has to do is look at who is sitting in the White House and ABC’s Roseanne bombastic ratings to see that they are starved for attention.

How does Hardees give show them attention? By giving us real people chowing down on mouth-watering breakfast biscuits (I am hungry now) to a catchy, authentic music track that lives in a genre of music called “Hick-Hop.”

For the uninitiated, myself included, “Hick-Hop” is a country narrative that applies rap’s infectious beats and rhymes with storylines about pickup-driving, beer-swillin’, chicken-and-biscuit-eating good ol’ boys. The track in the new Hardee’s spot is sung by artist Big Wet. His voice personifies an authentic, relaxed vibe that shows us what this “comfort culture” is all about.



Seriously, who can’t resist “popping biscuits in the back seat?”

“Hardee’s has been, and always will be a brand that ‘welcomes you home,’” said Jason Marker, Chief Executive Officer of CKE Restaurants, Inc. “It’s an exciting time for not only the brand, but for the entire company. We will accelerate the growth of our business by providing both iconic brands the space they need to grow, putting our unbeatable quality and great tasting food at the forefront of the business.”

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Jason Peterson, Chief Creative Officer of Havas U.S., added “Hardee’s is part of the fabric of a modern American culture. It’s a reflection of a contemporary society in America that isn’t celebrated often enough.” See? Roseanne

Though the first spot doesn’t really speak to me as an audience member, I do appreciate that it celebrates the values Hardee’s shares with its customers throughout the middle America. Featuring real people, real moments and real food as the brand does, I think will help their audience cheer and drive into the Hardee’s drive-thru.

In the coming months, Hardee’s claims their marketing efforts will be impossible to ignore as they build out “Tastes Like America” on both a regional and local level. Consumers can expect to see a revived look and feel at their local Hardee’s, new menu items featuring their handmade process, and regional campaigns tailored to the unique nature of local markets across America.

This was just a taste.

Contact Colin Costello at colin@reelchicago.com or follow him on Twitter @colincostello10.