Friday, July 24, 2009

Hardee’s Pottymouth?

Maybe you’d call ‘em “Joy Balls.” Maybe you’d call ‘em “Happy Holes.” Or maybe you would call the Parents Television Council, self-appointed targeter of programs it deems inappropriate for children (uhuh), and complain huffily about a new Hardee’s marketing campaign.

The PTC has called on Hardee’s franchisees asking them help kill the brand new Hardee’s Biscuit Holes TV commercials.

Now before you do anything else, do go to and check out what this is about…I think it’s a clever, silly site supporting a clever campaign idea: Hardee’s is looking for a good brand name. The company’s mildly pottymouthed campaign has upset some family-values people, which has put a major Hardee’s franchisee (Ben Mayo Boddie) on one, offended side of the furball; and the fast-food company on the other. So far, Hardee’s is sticking by its creative, bless you, by Mendelsohn Zien Advertising in LA.

Chain Leader reported on the introduction – and the naming opportunity – quoting Hardee’s VP-Marketing, Brad Haley, this way:

We knew there would be a big market for Biscuit Holes when we learned that some of our biscuit bakers have been making a similar product for the rest of their restaurants’ staff and they loved them.

They really are irresistible and it’s almost impossible to eat just one. But what to call them was a big challenge. One of my favorite options was “Biznuts,” a cross between biscuits and donuts, since the closest thing to them are donut holes. But there were many other suggestions that were very funny. Unfortunately, I can’t repeat them here.

Well, that’s the key, isn’t it. I look at the commercials and think they’re pretty hilarious in a teenage, look-I-pierced-my-eyebrow kind of way. You might also notice that there are equal numbers of guys and gals, young people and old folks…all jumping into the naming fun with “B-Holes” and “A-Holes.” The website is almost brilliant, complete with sound effects and quick naming clips. Oh yes, and coupons!

This mild Hardee’s bathroom humor take is driving the family values set crazy. In a week that filled with over-reactions, the PTC “outrage” just seems to be the icing on the…biznuts.

And way less amusing than “mouthful-of-balls.”

Extra thanks to Dave Ibsen at Five Blogs Before Lunch for the heads-up and Stacy Allen, Prism Design, for the screen capture.

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