What Paris Hilton did for Hardee’s Thickburger, Carl’s Jr. hopes Kim Kardashian does for its salads.

Carl’s Jr. launched three salads the week of Dec. 14, and is using socialite Kardashian, a star on E! Entertainment Television’s “Keeping Up with the Kardashians,” to promote them. TV spots feature Kardashian and her fondness for “bed picnics,” followed by bubble baths.

“It’s true, I love to have bed-picnics,” Kardashian says in the ads, according to the release. “I’m such a neat freak, but I put out my towel and eat in bed, and then when it gets all messy I take a hot bubble bath after to wash it off.”

Carl’s Jr. plans to begin airing the TV spots Dec. 28, and make them available on Carl’s Jr.’s Facebook page and YouTube Channel the week of Dec. 21.

Carl's Jr. uses seduction to sell salads

Courtesy Carl's Jr.

Carl's Jr.'s new Cranberry, Apple, Walnut Grilled Chicken Salad is the one Kardashian eats in the commercials. It has marinated chicken, feta cheese, apple slices, dried cranberries and glazed walnuts on a mix of ten different lettuces.

The promotion marks the first time the company has advertised entrée salads on television, although Carl’s Jr. claims to be the first fast-food restaurant to feature salad bars, which it launched in 1974. Beth Mansfield, director of public relations for Carpinteria, Calif.-based CKE Restaurants Inc., said Carl’s Jr. was the first fast-food chain to offer premium packaged salads. CKE owns Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr.

The Original Grilled Chicken Salad is a renovated version of the chain’s old Charbroiled Chicken Salad, and it joins two new salads on the menu, a Cranberry, Apple, Walnut Grilled Chicken Salad and a Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad. All three are served on a bed of spring mix, but the Cranberry, Apple, Walnut Grilled Chicken Salad has 10 lettuce varieties, which can include green/red leaf, mizuna, green romaine, tango, green oak, green/red chard, arugula, frisee, and other varieties.

Salinas, Calif.-based Taylor Farms supplies the lettuce.

“We worked with them very closely on development of the new salads, and they did extremely well in their test markets,” said Steve Ish, vice president of business development for Taylor Farms. “The lift was very, very, very, very good.”

Carl’s Jr. is expecting a significant spike in volume over the next three weeks, Mansfield said Dec. 17.

“It’s an upscale salad, and it’s going beyond your basic iceberg/romaine blend,” Ish said. “That’s what they were doing, and now they’re introducing spring mix and spinach to the salad.”

Ish said the promotion is also timed perfectly with New Year’s and the subsequent diet focus.

“And it’s just another example of great salad exposure and healthier items on the menu. Everyone needs to eat more fruits and vegetables, and Carl’s Jr. is doing an outstanding job promoting that.”

The salads cost $4.79 to $4.99. The chain’s former side salad dropped off the menu with the new launch, Mansfield said. They are made at each restaurant.

The ads

Carl's Jr. uses seduction to sell salads

Courtesy Carl's Jr.

Socialite and television reality show star Kim Kardashian will be featured in ads for Carl's Jr.'s new salad line.

Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. started their series of seductive commercials, an attempt to connect with an 18-24-year-old male target audience, in June of 2005, according to its Web site. At that time, it launched a controversial commercial featuring Paris Hilton eating its Spicy BBQ Thickburger, which caused a backlash from several parents and family groups and associations and was pulled out of some more conservative markets, according to media reports.

Just this year, the company used supermodel and Bravo TV’s “Top Chef” host Padma Lakshmi for Hardee’s Western Bacon Cheeseburger. The ad showed the model eating the burger and licking dripped sauce off of herself.

Carl’s Jr. scheduled a Jan. 12 live event with Kardashian on its Facebook page, when she will eat salad in bed while interacting with fans on the site. A promotion and invitation to the event are already on the restaurant chain’s Facebook page.

“We used Kim for a couple reasons. She has started doing fitness DVDs and she’s kind of focused on health and fitness,” Mansfield said. “With all the people we had in mind, we thought she would be a good fit with the brand.”

The salads are only available at Carl’s Jr. so far, but if Hardee’s ever rolls them out, the company will reuse the Kardashian ad, Mansfield said.