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    Carl’s Jr., Hardee’s refresh brand identity with flavor as inspiration

    • CKE Restaurants Holdings launched a brand refresh for its Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s brands, per details shared with Marketing Dive. A new visual identity was created in collaboration with Design Bridge.
    • The new design system is inspired by the brands’ flavors and ingredients, including a made-over “Happy Star” logo and other design elements that are textured to invoke charbroiled burgers, a bold color palette and impactful typography. The design changes will be reflected in employee uniforms, in-store signage, food packaging, advertising and more. 
    • The changes will debut in an ad campaign across television, radio and digital platforms including Snapchat, TikTok, Kargo, Yahoo and brand channels and come months after CKE announced plans for a $500 million brand transformation.

    Parent company CKE Restaurants is hoping to better connect the visual identity of its Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s brands with their “drippy, messy and indulgent” food by launching a brand refresh that focuses on updated design elements.

    “This reimagined identity not only rings in a new era for both Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s but gives us a platform to unite our total brand experience around leading our guests to what feeds their happy,” said Meredith Martin, senior director of marketing communications at CKE Restaurants, alluding to the brands’ “Feed Your Happy” campaign that launched in 2020.

    The brand refresh is a subtle one, giving a charbroiled texture to the Happy Star logo and its “flavor trail,” the lines that suggest motion behind the logo. Typography is aligned with the shape and angles of the logo, and brand colors have been switched to bold, food-inspired shades Charbroil Black, American Cheese Yellow, Flame Red and Biscuit Cream. 

    The pandemic period has been marked by numerous brand refreshes across categories as marketers seek to hold onto pandemic-spurred gains and address evolving consumer behaviors and desires. Recent refreshes of Kraft Mac & Cheese and Baskin-Robbins shared the same subtle approach as CKE, while Four Seasons and Soda Stream have repositioned their brands to meet category-wide changes.

    Along with a forthcoming 360-degree ad campaign that will debut the brand refresh, Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s have launched the “Score Big Cup Game & Sweepstakes” which features QR codes on specially marked cups that come with largo combo meals. Previously, Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s teamed with Twitch on a series of sponsored livestreams around a new menu item.

    CKE Restaurants in May announced plans to spend $500 million to transform its brands, with some funds going towards upgrading assets and building in additional digital ecosystems and touch points, as Chief Brand Officer Chad Crawford told Marketing Dive.

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