The Social Media Marketing Secrets of Carl's Jr.


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After an unexpected series of interactions on Twitter in December 2008, I came to know Beth Mansfield, the Public Relations Manager for CKE Restaurants, Inc. (Carl's Jr).

As the "voice" of the brand on Twitter Beth initially engaged me as a result of a blog post ( in which I expressed concern over the pricing of crisscut fries (I invited @carlsjr on Twitter to read it).

Through the course of our interactions I realized Carl's Jr is headquartered in Carpinteria, CA and Beth lives in Ventura, CA -- both are just a few miles down the road from Santa Barbara where I was set to teach a buying behavior class for UCSB Extension a few weeks later (

In addition to giving my students the "basics" of buying behavior, in my class I emphasize the importance of social media as a conduit to consumers. Realizing Beth's proximity to UCSB and how beneficial it would be to hear how a company was actively using social media, I invited her to speak to my class. She was immediately agreeable and, after determining which date would work best, we arranged the details and put the wheels in motion.

Beth visited my class on Saturday, January 31, 2009. I videotaped her two hour presentation and edited into seven videos I posted on YouTube (indicated below).

The PowerPoint presentation uploaded here is the one Beth used during her presentation (so there are portions of the PowerPoint that align with the YouTube video clips below):

1. Beth introduces the Carl's Jr. brand and discusses the "Young, Hungry Guy." (8:48):

2. Beth provides an overview of the Marketing Department at Carl's Jr. and shares some information about product development. (4:50):

3. Beth outlines some of Carl's Jr's marketing campaigns and advertising initiatives. (7:06):

4. Beth outlines Carl's Jr's media relations strategy and how they use public relations to communicate the brand message. (5:38):

5. Beth explains how Carl's Jr uses social media for its public relations efforts and as a means to engage consumers in an active dialogue about the brand. (9:40):

6. Beth provides additional detail about how Carl's Jr uses social media networks and tools including Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. (9:29):

7. Beth answers questions from students. (9:36):

For More Information:
Carl's Jr on YouTube:

Carl's Jr on Twitter:

Carl's Jr's Website:

Doctorious's Website:

Blog Post About Beth's Visit:

Published in: Business, Technology
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  • When you guys say you do not push information, does that mean you do not push coupons or deals going on? That's how I thought restaurants are suppose to market themselves online (deals/coupons).
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The Social Media Marketing Secrets of Carl's Jr.

  1. 1. Carl’s Jr. The Brand & Social Media January 2009
  2. 2. Agenda <ul><ul><li>Carl’s Jr. History </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Carl’s Jr. Brand </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Demographics </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Building & Maintaining </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Marketing Dept. Structure </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>PR & Social Media </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Carl’s Jr. History <ul><li>Founded 1941 by industry pioneer Carl Karcher </li></ul><ul><ul><li>One hotdog cart, grew to four </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Carl’s Drive in BBQ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Carl’s Jr. was the smaller version of his sit-down restaurant </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Now operated by CKE Restaurants. Inc. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Publicly traded on the NYSE as CKR </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Purchased Hardee’s 10 years ago </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>company-operated & franchised restaurants in 42 states & 14 countries </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>1,175 Carl's Jr. restaurants & 1,915 Hardee's restaurants. </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Carl’s Jr. Brand <ul><li>Craveable burgers for young, hungry guys </li></ul><ul><ul><li>18-34 year old males </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Sit-down restaurant quality food that doesn’t skimp on the premium ingredients or portion size </li></ul><ul><li>Memorable, iconic advertising </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sexy women </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Humor </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Burger drop </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Announcer & tagline </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Marketing Department <ul><li>Product Development </li></ul><ul><li>Consumer & Product Research </li></ul><ul><li>Advertising – tv, radio, print, digital, mail, outdoor, integration </li></ul><ul><li>Merchandising – menu boards, window clings, trayliners, napkin wraps, signs </li></ul><ul><li>Field marketing – local marketing in each DMA </li></ul><ul><li>Sales Analysis </li></ul><ul><li>Website </li></ul><ul><li>Public Relations </li></ul>
  6. 6. Social Media <ul><li>Allows participation between a brand and consumers </li></ul><ul><li>No longer a push of information, but a conversation </li></ul><ul><li>Has has created a new layer of influencers: mainstream media, bloggers, digital influencers, consumers </li></ul><ul><li>Changing face of Public Relations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Old model: PR sends message to media to disseminate to the masses </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>New model: Brands participate in conversation, listen, respond </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Social Media Tools <ul><li>SM Press Releases </li></ul><ul><ul><li>embeded video, photos, logos, URLs, metatags </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>BusinessWire, Pitch Engine </li></ul></ul><ul><li>SM Newsroom </li></ul><ul><ul><li>puts all of the social media releases & assets in one place </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>, </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Social Networks: Facebook, YouTube </li></ul><ul><li>Microblogs: Twitter </li></ul><ul><li>Crowdsourced news: Digg, Reddit, fark, send to a friend </li></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>Post news, promotions, events, commercials & related video </li></ul><ul><li>Users can become fans of the brands </li></ul><ul><li>Applications allow fans to send a burger to a friend </li></ul><ul><li>Ability to send messages to fans </li></ul><ul><li>Voice of the brand is consistent </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>Post commercials & other related content </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Viral videos, event coverage, interviews with CEO & key execs </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Users can view, comment & re-post on other sites/blogs </li></ul><ul><li>Provides user insight including demographics, discovery, hot spots </li></ul><ul><li>One channel = maximum views </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Rob Dyrdek viral video views topped 30K views in the first 24 hours </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>Allows users to follow Carl’s Jr. stream of messages </li></ul><ul><li>Short messages about news, promotions, humorous musings </li></ul><ul><li>Retweets & Replies to questions/comments/complaints </li></ul><ul><li>Allows us to listen to fans/detractors and respond </li></ul><ul><li>Keep voice of the brand consistent </li></ul>
  11. 11. Social Media Example <ul><li>Carl’s Jr. Texas Expansion Announcement </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Press release on BusinessWire & PitchEngine </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Twitter </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Started following media, bloggers & TX-based influencers in advance of announcement </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Hey Texas: 121 new Carl's Jr. units are coming to Dallas, Ft. Worth, Houston, Tyler, Longview, Beaumont. More info here http:// </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Texas has 19 Carl's Jr. restaurants open already in San Antonio, Austin, El Paso. Can't wait for Dallas or Houston to open? Road trip! </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Resulted in more than 75 media mentions & 100 Twitter posts </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Integrated Marketing Plan <ul><li>Partner with Rob Dyrdek </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Pro skateboarder, star of MTV’s hit show Rob & Big, entrepreneur </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lifestyle icon for YHG </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Foundation builds free, legal street skating parks </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Carl’s Jr. donation for skate park </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Rob creates 4 viral videos for the brand </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Permanent branding in LA skate park </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Secure brand integration in his new </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>show on MTV - Fantasy Factory </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Collector’s cups designed by Rob </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>in all Carl’s Jr. restaurants </li></ul></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Social Media Plan <ul><li>YouTube </li></ul><ul><ul><li>viral videos, Fantasy Factory appearances, skate park event </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>single source of posting </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>embedded on & Rob’s official Web site </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Twitter messaging </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Announce videos with links </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Announce donation, cups, FF appearance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Twitpics of cups, Rob & CEO, skate park </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Social Media Plan <ul><li>Facebook </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Link to YouTube videos created by Rob </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>News about skate park donation, Fantasy Factory appearance, cup promotion </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Video & photos from FF appearance; photos of cups </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Media/Blogger Outreach <ul><li>Viral videos </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide bloggers YouTube link & brief info via email outreach </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Continue email outreach with each new video posting </li></ul></ul><ul><li>SM press release </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Announce skate park donation, FF apearance, cups, videos </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Embedded video, photo of cups, FF photos, skate park rendering </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Autographed cups for bloggers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Incentive for embedding videos </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide contest prize for their site, creating more buzz </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Skate Park ribbon cutting event </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Media/bloggers invited </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Additional integration in Fantasy Factory episode </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Online Outreach <ul><li>Traditional media Web sites </li></ul><ul><li>Skateboarding blogs </li></ul><ul><li>Pop Culture blogs </li></ul><ul><li>Guy blogs </li></ul><ul><li>Gaming blogs </li></ul><ul><li>Marketing/advertising industry blogs </li></ul><ul><li>Fast Food blogs </li></ul><ul><li>Food Industry blogs </li></ul>
  17. 17. Traditional Media Outreach <ul><li>TV – traditional news & sports; national & LA DMA </li></ul><ul><li>Newspapers – national, all Carl’s Jr. DMAs </li></ul><ul><li>Magazines - general sports, skateboarding, men’s </li></ul><ul><li>Radio – morning/afternoon drive, sports talk shows </li></ul><ul><li>Advertising/marketing trade publications </li></ul><ul><li>Entertainment media </li></ul>
  18. 18. Sites <ul><li>YouTube http:// </li></ul><ul><li>Facebook </li></ul><ul><li>Twitter </li></ul><ul><li>Carl’s Jr. http:// </li></ul><ul><li>CKE Restaurants, Inc. http:// </li></ul><ul><li>Hardee’s http:// </li></ul>
  19. 19. Questions