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'Hot' Paris Hilton ad
creates online hunger

Paris Hilton stirring appetites

The sexy Paris Hilton burger ad blasted by some as soft-core pornography has led to a huge increase in online searches for the restaurant chain responsible for the campaign.

The competitive intelligence service Hitwise reports queries for “Carls Jr” grew an astounding 802 percent between the weeks ending May 21 and May 28, the days immediately following the debut of the campaign. Comparatively, brand searches for Burger King – in the midst of its co-promotion of Star Wars: Sith Sense – increased 52 percent during the same time period.

Searches for “Paris Hilton” on the Internet grew by 102 percent in those two weeks.

“Analyzing the historical volume of brand search queries during a marketing campaign provides unique insight into the effect that the campaign has on brand strength and recall,” said Bill Tancer, vice president of research at Hitwise. “In this case, it is quite clear that despite its controversy, the Carl’s Jr. Spicy Paris campaign has caused an increase in mindshare of the Carl’s Jr. brand.”

The service also says well over half (58.4 percent) of those visiting the Carl’s Jr. homepage continued on to a special page to view an Internet version of the TV spot, and 7.4 percent went directly to a store locator to find a restaurant nearest them.

Parent company CKE Restaurants says same-store sales at Carl’s Jr. rose 1.5 percent for the four weeks ending May 23, but fell 1 percent at Hardee’s, which is also using the Hilton ads.

Meanwhile, a new version of the Cole Porter song “I Love Paris” which is featured in the spot is being released commercially on iTunes.

“I’m shocked that the commercial has gotten so much recognition and become so controversial,” said Eleni Mandell, the singer in the cover version. “Bottom line is that it’s a good commercial. The fact that people are responding to the music is a wonderful surprise.”

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