Defending Paris

This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," June 7, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: "Factor" follow-up segment tonight, a couple of weeks ago, we reported on a risque TV ad put out by Carl's Jr. Hamburger (search) that some parents thought was inappropriate. The ad features Paris Hilton demonstrating her talent and eating one of the Carl's burgers, although that's not easy when you're writhing around. Bad for the digestion, I would imagine.

Now some ad experts we talked with were puzzled by this advertisement, wondering who it was aimed at. With us now to explain the entire strategy is Andrew Puzder, the CEO of CKE Restaurants, which is Carl's Jr. and Hardee's, among others.

OK, so you got Paris Hilton (search) writhing around with the burger.


O'REILLY: Nobody's buying she's eating the burger. You know that?

PUZDER: You know, she ate two of them at the shoot. I swear, she ate — I wasn't there. I was told she ate two of them.

O'REILLY: Yes, you were told?


O'REILLY: Anyway, families looking at this, a lot of them, are going to go well we hate you. We hate you. So that's not good for them. Who are you looking for?

PUZDER: The target of this ad is — and our marketing target is 18 to 34-year old males. That's our demographic target. And this ad appeals to that age group very strongly.

O'REILLY: Oh, obviously.


O'REILLY: So you're telling me that 18 to 34-year-old American men buy the most burgers?

PUZDER: In fact, they do. They're called heavy fast food users or HFFU's. HFFU's.


PUZDER: They buy a lot of burgers. But there's also a lot of women in that age group that find Paris Hilton very appealing. And we've gotten a lot of good compliments on the ad from people in that group.

O'REILLY: Every time I go to Carl's Jr. when I'm out on the West Coast or Hardee's (search) when I'm down south, I see loads of families in there, loads.

PUZDER: Absolutely.

O'REILLY: In the Bible Belt, this ain't playing. You've got to know that. It's not playing. They don't like it. I don't care, but they don't like it.

PUZDER: The target — you know, the target that I talked about, the 18 to 34-year-old male, is really an aspirational target. In other words, if there are — Victoria's Secret, for example, markets to one 21-year-old woman in Manhattan, but a lot of people shop there, because a lot of people want to be that woman.

Our aspirational target is the 18 to 34-year-old male. But you have a lot of people that want to be that kind of person, be in that kind of place. So we get a lot of people at Carl's Jr. that come from other age groups.

And we will run this in the Midwest and the Southeast as a Hardee's ad beginning the end of June.

O'REILLY: Now you're only going to run it after 9 p.m., though? You learned your lesson.

PUZDER: Well, we originally intended only to run it after 9 p.m.

O'REILLY: But it slipped into a couple of family hours?

PUZDER: Well, the — for the first week — I was out of the country. For the first week it was sweeps week. And there were a lot of shows that were having their season enders.


PUZDER: And they — so the marketing people decided it was good to put the ad in those shows.

O'REILLY: Do you really think that you're not — I know some people aren't going to buy your burgers because they don't like this thing.

PUZDER: You know, I can't comment about sales until the end of the month. I can tell you that...

O'REILLY: But you're taking a bit of a risk, don't you think?

PUZDER: I can tell you we have an Internet site, It was the No. 1 spot for hits in the country.

O'REILLY: So what? So is her sex tapes site. Come on. Anybody's going to look at the Internet if there's something.

PUZDER: Well, it's not just the Internet, but they can click on for a coupon. And you get a very, very high return of people that click for coupons. We've got over 50,000 people clicking for coupons. I mean, you get a lot of positive, you get a lot of negative.

O'REILLY: All right. I'm going to be interested to see whether this works. But you would agree that this kind of a strategy, using a woman like this who is not well respected by many Americans, and using her in a salacious way is risky. Wouldn't you say that?

PUZDER: I don't know if it's risky. We've done this before with ads.

O'REILLY: With what?

PUZDER: Well, we had a woman on a mechanical bull. We had Hugh Hefner in an ad that really kind of raised the ire of a lot of people.

O'REILLY: Is he getting hosed down? I want to see that.

PUZDER: No. He absolutely — but he had a — I wouldn't say it was salacious, but it was a pretty provocative ad. We got a lot of the same kinds of complaints that we're getting here. But you know, sales at Carl's have been positive, I think, for 27 consecutive periods, including the Carl's — including the Hefner ad.

O'REILLY: If this works, if you spike up, you've got to come back. And I'll — because I really am interested to see if this strategy, which I think burgers are a family deal. I really do. You might be wanting the guys, but if this works, I'm going to be amazed.

I'll give you the last word.

PUZDER: We've got — sales are coming out the 27th or 28th. I will be glad to come back once — once we announce and talk about it with you.

O'REILLY: All right. We'll see. You're going to be honest, right? I have to verify, you know? Trust but verify.

PUZDER: Absolutely. It's a public company. I'll be honest.

O'REILLY: And when you come back, bring Paris Hilton with you. Can you do that?

PUZDER: I have never met Paris, but I will ask her.

O'REILLY: Yes. I would love to see her eat a burger right here on "The Factor." OK? Not that I don't believe you.

PUZDER: She might — she might be up for it.

O'REILLY: Yeah, well, she might be up for a lot of things, Mr. Puzder.

PUZDER: You never know.

O'REILLY: We'll try to keep it a little — all I want to do is eat a burger, and we don't have to hose her down.

PUZDER: You just keep showing the ad. And we'll keep (INAUDIBLE)...

O'REILLY: I know your strategy on that one, sir. Thanks for coming in.

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