Hardees faces heat over 'fresh buns' advertisement

Published: July 21, 2015

Fast food chain Hardees, a sister brand of the American Carl’s Jr, is known for its juicy burgers and milkshakes. But the global favourite, which landed its feet in Pakistan in 2009, now wants its customer base to quite literally take a second look at its buns.  

A new advertisement seen on the fast food chain’s Lahore outlet has everyone talking. The ad captures two buns neatly placed together and a woman’s hand firmly grabbing one. The ad reads ‘fresh buns’. The innuendo can hardly be missed.

While the Hardees’ marketing team definitely pushed the envelope with this one, not everyone seems to be happy about the ad.

Some were a little more forgiving

This isn’t the first time the fast food giant has used controversial marketing techniques. Before its launch in Pakistan, Hardees released a stream of advertisements geared to stir controversy.

The fast food chain’s ‘unbuckle your belt’ advertisement, which featured a pair of jeans with an open zip, being one of the notable ones.

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Reader Comments (39)

  • Mohammad
    Jul 21, 2015 - 2:40PM

    seriously, only we the Pakistani can think on such lines….. ! amazing. Recommend

  • sean ain
    Jul 21, 2015 - 3:06PM


  • Furqan
    Jul 21, 2015 - 3:11PM

    I find nothing wrong here. This is their marketing strategy and they have achieved what they desired. Yes it is naughty.. and yes its under discussion… and yes i like it.Recommend

  • GI Joe
    Jul 21, 2015 - 3:24PM

    Disgusting perverts promoting lewdness in our society through subliminal messaging. Recommend

  • Nirmal
    Jul 21, 2015 - 3:26PM

    while i dont take this too serious, but hardees in UAE doesn’t have courage enough to use these kind of marketing tactics hereRecommend

  • Fahim
    Jul 21, 2015 - 3:30PM

    Do some action before hard liners makes another mess upRecommend

  • Dr.humayun Jafri
    Jul 21, 2015 - 3:40PM

    Not every time your Marketing strategy and advertisement are culturally and morally acceptable to every corner of the world , you have to be very customised. This advertisement is culturally and morally in appropriate for Pakistani market. What I personally feel bcs of current Army operation mullahs of Pakistan have not bn able to react on this advertisementRecommend

  • Faeza
    Jul 21, 2015 - 3:51PM

    Well seriously , its just a stupid advertisement . Now matter how you look at , the buns will be buns . We have bigger and better problems to worry about though I am waiting for the mullaa response to boycott hardees and how it is a yahoodi sazish to pollute the minds of innocent muslim boysRecommend

  • sikander
    Jul 21, 2015 - 4:18PM

    @Mohammad: ::
    So u want us not to pay attention on the stuff which is sexual , sensual and offensive engrossingly?????
    Would u like to walk through a billboard showing meaningful sentences, sexually explicit material….
    Please dont always poke your filthy intellect into any thing and stop being so negative about Pakistan…this is my country and we are concerned…else u can take your family to Amsterdam. Recommend

  • besharam khan
    Jul 21, 2015 - 4:25PM

    while in rest of the globe figure like Kim Kardashian breaks the internet, in Pakistan even buns can do it.
    un buckle your belts and welcome Hardees to PakistanRecommend

  • Parvez
    Jul 21, 2015 - 4:40PM

    Ha,Ha ….. that was mega stupid. Recommend

  • Aafaaq Ali Khan
    Jul 21, 2015 - 4:50PM

    I think, we as a nation lost our values for few pennies.

    Such a shame that you even feel embarrassed to explain this shi** to your elders and kids.

    We have two extremes and they exist because of each other :-

    Religious Fanatics
    Captalism Fanatics

    We need to kick both out of our country to ensure a peaceful life based on high values and characters.Recommend

  • Jul 21, 2015 - 5:17PM

    Response Like this from our nation towards a little humour in such tense state limits our nations mindset evolve along with rest of the world.Recommend

  • Nadeem
    Jul 21, 2015 - 5:42PM

    There could have been other ways of attractive advertisement..Very weak and sick mentality of Hardies ppl…shame on such a qualified staff.Recommend

  • Ariba
    Jul 21, 2015 - 7:10PM

    This is all nice and good for Hardees’ advertisement but pray tell, do they have the guts to do this in an Arab country where shariah is imposed? :)
    No. They’re exploiting our weakness and making business of it. You all are letting them win by not standing against it. Recommend

  • Tiny
    Jul 21, 2015 - 8:10PM

    I like it. And it’s meant to be controversial. It’s got everyone talking about it, generating that precious buzz. As for all the lot that has an issue with it, oh would you grow up already. The same crowd who watches porn and bollywood item numbers suddenly has a problem with a campaign that doesn’t even show any skin. Don’t you people have anything more important to be offended about?Recommend

  • Mj
    Jul 21, 2015 - 8:15PM

    I like the ad. Definitely pushes the envelope.Recommend

  • Noshdoc
    Jul 21, 2015 - 8:37PM

    Alot more worse, disgusting and morally wrong is going on in our country the moral police should try to curb that first besides like they say beauty lies in beholder’s eyes so does ugliness in the perverts grow up people and purify your minds and cleanse your souls.Recommend

  • Amir
    Jul 21, 2015 - 9:24PM

    True….nothing wrong with naked women showing off their bodies on prime time and on the roads….some way to cleanse the mind. Kudos 5o your strategy. Recommend

  • miristan
    Jul 21, 2015 - 10:51PM

    Some people have dirty mind.Recommend

  • Mehreen
    Jul 21, 2015 - 11:40PM

    It is universal truth what this ad is selling, sells. However, it is inappropriate and unnecessary. Hardees needs to reconsider its marketing strategy if it wants to have a loyal fanbase, based on good food reputation and not cheap sale tactics.Recommend

  • Mehreen
    Jul 21, 2015 - 11:45PM

    Also ET, I don’t understand why often the articles – which are well written – are coupled with amatuer and corny tweets? For me, in my opinion, the spirit of real news (read people with strong ideas and voices about a topic should be given space than ironic and retweetable-bait tweets to be used to support an argument) is fading. Recommend

  • Mehreen
    Jul 21, 2015 - 11:48PM

    I agree. But this is also a problem, if I may share my opinion: it is an inappropriate ad and if not considered inappropriate will give way to more inappropriateness. Recommend

  • Amir
    Jul 22, 2015 - 12:33AM

    So if we cannot do anything about zardaris corruption and the karo kari situation in sindh, we shouldnt say this ad is bad? Brilliant !!!Recommend

  • Amir
    Jul 22, 2015 - 12:41AM

    I wonder if they would have shown real ‘buns’ of a woman, would it not get some supporters??? Would they still not be askimg all critics to grow up? I wonder for us ‘less grown ups’, would there be a legal way to stop that coz pemra or some other related body would have already approved it by the time public sees it.

    I wonder, because I see that time approaching fast….. Recommend

  • sadia
    Jul 22, 2015 - 12:45AM

    Hardees knew exactly what they were doing with these ads. It’s not about having a dirty mind. I will not be comfortable going there with my kids or family if they are displaying these sort of implied sexual messages.Recommend

  • Zaidi
    Jul 22, 2015 - 12:54AM

    Some attempt should be made to see what kind of people appreciate such things and what kind of people depreciate them. Educational qualifications and standing in society then must be used to measure the value of such view.

    If a person has failed school, that person is to be termed as stupid.

    If a person has excelled in school, that person should have his point of view highlighted and is to be deemed an intelligent fellow.

    I consider this ad campaign to be stupid, and if the person who has made this is not an exceptional fellow, then so should everyone else.Recommend

  • Abdul Qudoos
    Jul 22, 2015 - 10:45AM

    The men will look at these ads and commit sexual crimes, and the women will cheat on their boyfriends and husbands. Please ban these ads immediately!.Recommend

  • Ashraf
    Jul 22, 2015 - 11:26AM

    Now buns are UnIslamic?? Don’t blame the buns if you start imagining other things. Recommend

  • Ovais
    Jul 22, 2015 - 11:28AM

    Hardees should know that gay rights have been issued in the US, not in Pakistan. They might just be trying to market to the gay community here.Recommend

  • tungik
    Jul 22, 2015 - 12:03PM

    this cuntry will make an issue out of every non-issue like western clothes, influences but will not utter a single word on iliteracy, militancy, jahalat,! no wonder world is progressing and pakistanis are playing with bombs and no electricityRecommend

  • Osaid
    Jul 22, 2015 - 4:10PM

    To all those who are complaining that we have bigger issues to think about, it does not mean that we should start swallowing such sex-driven advertising campaigns, get over it please, this is Pakistan and there is still some sharm-o-haya left in the people.Recommend

  • Zain
    Jul 24, 2015 - 2:13AM

    All Hardee’s advertisements around the globe are like these.
    Seriously only we can be so naive. Recommend

  • jaff
    Jul 24, 2015 - 11:15AM

    One has dirty mind or not, who are you to display such double meaning stuff for one to think dirty??

    Every vendor customize their marketing strategy according to the region they are operating.

    If they don’t keep this in mind, obviously they’ll face heat. still i’m wondering why no body set this banner on fire, or marked with black paint. Hardees must see hard time on this.

    ( Note: I’m neither religious, nor extremist.. but simply i don’t enjoy and don’t support these kind of unethical and idiotic marketing strategies. )Recommend

  • miristan
    Jul 24, 2015 - 12:34PM

    @ jaff

    Now you have committed a crime for preaching violence against simple advertisement. Where is Pakistani police ? Recommend

  • Jaff
    Jul 24, 2015 - 3:33PM

    Glad to know that you are able to find the preaching for crime in my comment?? While you can’t see what this “simple advertisement” is preaching?. Recommend

  • Jaff
    Jul 24, 2015 - 3:57PM

    Brother, the worst state of a nation is when they start denying or loose the ability of judging right and wrong.

    Being a citizen you can at-least should allow other citizens to express their “opinion”. not stopping them with such things like “condemn Zardari first” .. you know well everybody is equally helpless like you and me in this country.Recommend

  • Ayesha Ahmed
    Jul 26, 2015 - 5:42PM

    This ad is morally incorrect and sexulizes women. If accepting such ads is called modernism then bear in mind that western countries have come out of this. check out: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/16/vintage-sexist-adsn4612110.htmlRecommend

  • Babar
    Jul 27, 2015 - 10:39AM

    Well Hardees should have been reprimanded when they ran the double meanings during the launch itself. They tested the waters then, when no one stopped them they became bolder. Enter the buns.

    This is how acceptance to lewdness and shamelessness is born. All the posts that deem it ok should share the images with their parents or children. If you feel ashamed to do that then yes, those are shameful ads meant to conjure sexual meaning. If someone cannot see, either ethically there is something wrong with you or you are trying hard to be a wannabe liberal.Recommend

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