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Carl's Jr. Hopes for Knockout with UFC Champ Rousey Ads


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UFC champ Ronda "Rowdy" Rousey will star in new Carl's Jr. and Hardee's commercials.

Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s are trading babes in their ads for the “femininely badxxx” body of  Ronda Rousey, the Ultimate Fighting Championship star who won an epic title fight last weekend in 34 seconds.

That’s how Rousey described herself in a rebuke to critics who called her body masculine, according to MMA Junkie, a chronicle of everything in the mixed martial arts world. “Listen, just because my body was developed for a purpose other than (sleeping with) millionaires doesn’t mean it’s masculine,” she said on an episode of a UFC reality show but using the 'F' word, instead. “I think it’s femininely badxxx because there’s not a single muscle on my body that isn’t for a purpose.”

It’s a big departure for the burger brands, known for showing barely clothed supermodels posing behind, for example, two giant melons. (Get it?) “She’ll tell you size doesn’t matter,” goes one tagline in an ad featuring Paris Hilton and a giant hamburger. “She’s lying.” It’s the kind of campaign designed to delight teenage boys of all ages.

Brad Haley, chief marketing officer for the brands' franchisor CKE Restaurants, says they take “a range of approaches to ads,” including using “edgy humor that features guys. Some of the ads we’ve done with supermodels, and that’s gotten the attention.”

In a stroke of great fortune, they shot a commercial featuring Rousey about six weeks ago and then cheered as she won her UFC title bout in Rio de Janeiro last Saturday. “She’s such an amazing fighter. We expected her to win and she did.”

Rousey had 1.5 million Twitter followers and 3.9 million Instagram followers as of last Monday morning. “Ronda is one of those unique athletes that is loved by both sexes,” Haley says. “She really does have mass appeal. Everybody loves a champion and she certainly is that.

“We think Ronda is beautiful. She is an amazing athlete. She has a beautiful, athletic body,” he adds.

The new ads will debut at the end of the month, to promote a new product that remains under wraps. Haley hints the product will have two sides, just like Rousey. “She can be an amazing competitor in the ring. She also has a sweet and tender side, too.”

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The latest news, opinions and commentary on what's happening in the franchise arena that could affect your business.

Laura MichaelsLaura Michaels is editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3210, or send story ideas to lmichaels@franchisetimes.com.
 
Beth EwenBeth Ewen is senior editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3212, or send story ideas to bewen@franchisetimes.com.
 
Nicholas UptonNicholas Upton is restaurants editor at Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3226, or send story ideas to nupton@franchisetimes.com.
 
Mary Jo LarsonMary Jo Larson is the publisher of Franchise Times Magazine and the Restaurant Finance Monitor.  You can find her on Twitter at
 twitter.com/mlarson1011.
 

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