This is Part 2 of our blog series on Citizen Journalism. Part 1 was about a dishwashing liquid called Bright Green, a great Safeway product with a serious container design flaw. We contacted Safeway and sent them a copy of our blog post.  But, we did not get a response. Today, I called again and left a message.  The key to success in social today is two-way communication with customers. Let’s see how Carl’s Jr. responds when we send them this post.

You may have heard the catchy slogan for Taco Bell, “Think outside the bun”.  The company is persuading fast food customers to choose a different category of fast food besides burgers and then choose Taco Bell as their preferred taqueria. This is reminiscent of 7Up’s classic slogan—“The Uncola”--that persuasively suggests that cola drinkers switch to their lemon-lime beverage.

But, how do you chip away market share from a market leader such as McDonalds if you are Carl’s Jr.?  Carl’s Jr. has come up with a sensational answer in their latest commercial about Big Carl which is a direct assault on the Big Mac. They are really “thinking inside the bun!

In just 30 seconds Carl’s Jr. compares the two products, feature by feature, in a very convincing way.  The Big Carl has double the meat, double the cheese for less money.  There also is no third layer of bread in the Big Carl. For those who prefer lower carbohydrates this is quite compelling. The message was so clear that we understood it with the mute button pressed.

After seeing the Big Carl commercial we are convinced that, given a choice between McDonald’s and Carl’s Jr., Big Carl would win hands down. How many other non-fast food customers are convinced by this commercial to at least try the Big Carl? This may be a side benefit of the ad campaign that was not even anticipated.

The Big Mac is a thoroughly branded product. It even has a jingle that describes all of the ingredients that comprise the burger. Carl’s junior fully exploits the fact that McDonalds cannot change their product (to match Big Carl) without changing the very identity of their branded burger.

A very good sign that Carl’s Jr. understands social media is the fact that we were able to find this relatively new commercial on You Tube. (See below) We will let you know if they respond to us when we send them this blog post.

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