G1 Individual Report – Carl’s Jr.

Hello everyone, I am Claudia from G1 and my individual report revolves around analyzing Carl’s Jr. social media strategies!

What is Carl’s Jr.?
Carl’s Jr. is an American-based fast-food chain operated by started by Carl Karcher, after whom the restaurants were named, in 1956. The brand is renowned for its bigger, better burgers and innovative menu items that targets its core, and very narrow target audience of “Young, Hungry Guys”, or males between the ages of 18–34.

The company has also been known for its long history of attention grabbing, but also controversial advertisements, featuring scantily-clad, heavily-sexualized women. Celebrities such as Emily Ratajowski and Kim Kardashian are a few of the man women who have been featured.

However, these controversial advertisements that once appealed to people 20 years ago are now offending many others, especially in an era where feminism is stronger than ever. This has led to the public developing an increasingly negative perception of Carl’s Jr. as a brand.

Research Questions
As such, my project seeks to answer the following research questions:

  1. How can Carl’s Jr. build on social media strategies to engage a wider target audience?
  2. How can Carl’s Jr. use social media to create original content to improve public perception of the company?

Data Collection
For this project, I monitored Carl’s Jr.’s YouTube, Facebook as well as Instagram accounts over a three week period from the 4th of March to the 25th of March. I tracked how often they posted on each account, the number of likes and shares each post got, and the type of content posted. This was to measure customer engagement and width of customer reach. I compared Carl’s Jr.’s social media usage to 2 close competitors – McDonald’s and Wendy’s, as they have similar product offerings catering to similar demographics.

The results were that Carl’s Jr. had significantly less customer engagement, reach, and responsiveness as compared to its competitors, and public perception of the brand was mostly negative.


  1. #Build-a-Burger Challenge on Instagram
    The Build-a-Burger campaign will introduce a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) burger on Carl’s Jr.’s menu. Customers will be encouraged to customise their own burger using existing ingredients in the Carl’s Jr. kitchen. For example, instead of ordering a normal burger off the menu, they will be allowed to make the burger of their choice by selecting. Customers will also be invited to take photos with/of their customised burgers and post them on Instagram, with the hashtag #BuildaBurger. Each round of posts will last a month, and the top 5 most creative burgers (the post with the most likes) will win $100 worth of Carl’s Jr. vouchers.
  2. Eat-a-Burger Challenge on Facebook, YouTube
    The ‘Eat-a-Burger’ challenge will be a food challenge featuring a towering burger made up of 3 of Carl’s Jr.’s signature 100% Angus beef 2-inch thick beef patties, layered with 3 slices of cheese, strips of bacon, caramelised onions, complete with a side of fries and an ice-cream shake. Participants will have to eat this huge burger and finish the sides in the fastest time possible. A Carl’s Jr. employee will take a video of all participants wolfing down the burger, as well as keep time. These recorded videos will be uploaded onto Facebook and YouTube, and participants will be encouraged to share their videos on social media. Each round of competition lasts for a month. There will be 2 categories of winners – firstly, the participant with the fastest recorded time, and secondly, the participant with the most shares and likes on Facebook. The winners will each win $100 worth of Carl’s Jr. vouchers.
  3. Buy-a-Burger Campaign on Facebook, Instagram
    Carl’s Jr.’s price range is higher than that of an average fast-food chain, and the target demographic of young adults aged 18-34 encompasses a large proportion of students, who are price-sensitive, and mostly survive on an allowance. The ‘Buy-a-Burger’ campaign will thus provide e-coupons to reduce prices of Carl’s Jr. meals in order to make it more affordable. Carl’s Jr. will upload these e-coupons on Facebook and Instagram, and allow customers to flash these coupons at any Carl’s Jr. outlet for discounts, free sides, or upsizes.

These solutions help Carl’s Jr. create original content that draws attention away from the controversial advertisements, as well as encourage sharing and liking on social media that helps to widen customer reach and increase customer engagement.

Thank you for reading my project! Good luck with finals to all

– Claudia Koh

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