No Home for Hardee’s?

Chain Explores Options for $100 Mil. Biz
LOS ANGELES–Media agency Western Initiative Media Worldwide has lost its appetite for trying to squeeze a profit out of Hardee’s Food Systems.
Late last week, the shop resigned the sandwich chain’s account, citing the difficulty of turning a profit on a business that is carved up into dozens of third-tier and smaller markets in more than 30 states–each of which requires its own media plan.
Rocky Mount, N.C.-based Hardee’s, a unit of CKE Restaurants, has not decided where to place its TV-media business, although its current print and radio shops–Jordan Associates in Oklahoma City and Lewis Advertising in Rocky Mount–are likely to get first crack at the assignment.
Newspaper advertising for the chain continues to be handled by BrannForbes in Dallas. Hardee’s spends more than $100 million annually on all media.
Recently named Hardee’s creative shop Johnson/Ukropina in Newport Beach, Calif., is unaffected. Western continues to handle Hardee’s sister chain, Carl’s Jr.
“We are talking with [Jordan and Lewis] at this point,” said Tom Kettinger, Hardee’s vice president of strategic marketing. “We are not having a broadscale media-resource review, [but] we are exploring all of our many options.”
Mike Lotito, the president and chief operating officer at Western, explained, “We can no longer profitably provide the high quality of service which we believe should be delivered to all of
our clients.”
Hardee’s was “an extraordinarily difficult account, with small margins that obviously were
inadequate,” said one source. “In addition, it’s no secret that this is a difficult chain operationally, with many frustrated franchise groups.” –with J. Dee Hil