Eater published a fun, if predictable, collection of what it calls Carl's Jr.'s Slutburger ads–you know, those ads featuring hot chicks eating burgers that made founder Carl Karcher sad in the last years of his life due to their wanton sexuality.
Of course, the chain's Slutburger phase is a relatively recent development in its TV-commercial history. Those of us who grew up in Southern California remember the company's pre-Slutburger days, when Carl's ran ads that were almost always hokey, rarely edgy, but ultimately satisfying–just like its best burgers, and just like Karcher (save for his gay-bashing, of course).
After the jump, a trip down memory lane . . .
1. Carl Karcher Stars Alongside Happy Star
In the early 1990s, Karcher's handlers thought animating the man and having him star alongside an anthropomorphized version of the Happy Star, the company's eternal mascot based on Karcher's smile, would bring in customers. Instead, the series (I can't remember how many were produced) was best remembered for being . . . weird. Shortly after, a coup took Carl's Jr. out of Karcher's hands.
2. The Couch Commercial
See what I mean by hokey humor? Not the most sophisticated take, but still something that elicits a chuckle and gets the point across that the burgers are cheap and bueno.
3. Eddie Money Sings Carl's
Who's Eddie Money again? Oh, yeah, “Two Fingers in Paradise”–oops, that's my Howard Stern fan coming out. Anyhoo, Money was already on the oldies circuit in 1996 when he recorded this commercial, and I think most people scratched their head when Carl's debuted this ad–where was Pearl Jam? Or even No Doubt, which was about to blow up?
4. Wimpy Shills for Carl's
Do people even remember the Popeye universe? Hell, even Popeye's ditched the sailor and his crew years ago. Getting history's greatest hamburger eater (look him up, kiddies) as your shill was a cartoon coup for Carl's but probably flew over the head of viewers. Sad. . . .
5. The “Happy Birthday” Ad
This remains my all-time favorite Carl's Jr. ad. The company was already sliding down that slippery slope toward its bro consumers, but nevertheless created something everyone could enjoy, not just horny geeks such as myself.