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February 26, 2013

How Advertising can Support your Marketing & Sales for a Competitive Advantage, Part 1

This is the first in a 3-part series on a few current consumer advertising campaigns that really got it right… they didn’t advertise simply to build awareness (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing) or to make people laugh (which two of the three do)… but their ads are an execution of a specific marketing strategy.

Yes, I am a B2B consultant and most of you reading this work in a B2B environment… but there are three really good lessons to be learned here about executing marketing in support of a broader strategy.

First up… Hardee’s ( and Carl Jr’s ( – sister companies.  I’m not sure how long it’s been, but for the past several years, they have clearly been targeting the male population with two distinct kinds of ads:

In eating like a man, they show big, strong men eating huge, greasy, spicy “thickburgers.”  No pretense about trying to eat healthy or targeting any other demographic.  They’ve staked out their territory and it’s all about men eating like men are supposed to eat (that’s Hardee’s talkin’ – not me).

In the second group of ads, it’s difficult to really remember what they’re selling because the ads are so suggestive and completely inappropriate (that’s my wife talkin’ – not me).  But again, they are focused on one thing… appealing to the target audience they’ve staked out – men.

The other fast-food chains are all fighting over healthy eating and appealing to families… Hardee’s unapologetically goes after one target group and nails it.  To be honest, I don’t know how this campaign has impacted Hardee’s top or bottom line… but with these ads having been around for so long – I can only assume that the results have been pretty positive.

The lesson: In marketing, you can’t be all things to all people… so, pick your target market, go after it aggressively and don’t stop.  That kind of focus will give you a competitive advantage that others – without that kind of focus – can never match.

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