Just as Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s were looking to launch the indulgent Prime Rib Menu, COVID-19 hit, inciting a global recession. Given the circumstances, the brands knew the menu seemed extravagant. Regardless, it needed a campaign to create a sense of urgency and excitement around the items.
The campaign centered around creating hype. Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s created an investment tier strategy, in which consumers could put money into the concept in three stages. (The earlier customers would invest, the higher their return on investment.) Round one investors put in $1 to receive up to $10 in beefy returns (in the form of Carl’s/Hardee’s gift cards), round two investors put in $1 to receive $7 and round 3 investors put in $1 to receive $5. To promote the initiative, the brands launched videos on social media, posted about it on their landing pages and tapped influencers including Lance Bass to spread the word.
PrimeRibVenture.com launched on October 1, at which point investors could put in money for returns later on. All available investment opportunities — 15,500 in all — were quickly snapped up, contributing to a spike in sales at both Carl’s Jr. (which doubled QSR category sales during the campaign’s four weeks) and Hardee’s (where QSR sales increased by about 40%).