Carl's Jr. likes being provocative, but not in the realm of politics.
That's the message from parent company CKE Restaurants, which has gone on the record to deny claims that its latest ad with scantily clad women, "Border Ball," plays off the current national debate over immigration.
The spot, from 72andSunny, broke Sept. 28. It features Texan model Elle Evans (previously seen also being scantily clad in Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" video) and Mexico City cover model Alejandra Guilmant. The ad sells the new Tex Mex Thickburger, which is apparently equal parts Tex and Mex. So, the commercial shows two women's beach volleyball teams—one from Texas, one from Mexico—trying to settle things with a game on the border.
Innocuous enough, if gratuitous in the classic Carl's Jr. style, right?
Except another of the models in the spot raised eyebrows with this statement to FOX411: "I don't think it goes too far. I think it's really sexy, and I think it's playing up on what's going on politically right now with immigration. I think it was a bold move for Carl's Jr."
Whoa there, Carl's Jr. replied.
A CKE rep quickly told Fox: "Our new ad for the Tex Mex Bacon Thickburger is not a political statement. It is simply a fast-food ad, and, like all of our ads, the premise helps to paint a picture about the food. If a connection was made between the ad and politics—it was certainly not our intent."
The rep added that the ad was simply in keeping with the chain's years-old marketing strategy of using nearly naked models and celebrities to sell sandwiches.
It's a bit of an ignominious development for an ad that 72andSunny seemed to be quite proud of. As the agency told us last week, the new spot was inspired by actual volleyball games that are played across the U.S.-Mexico border.
Project: Tex Mex Bacon Thickburger – "Borderball"
Overview: When Tex meets Mex, it's a win win.
Chief Executive Officer: Andy Puzder
Chief Marketing Officer: Brad Haley
Senior Vice President, Product Marketing: Bruce Frazer
Vice President, Field Marketing, Media, Merchandising: Steve Lemley
Director of Advertising: Brandon LaChance
Director of Product Marketing, Merchandising: Christie Cooney
Product Marketing Manager: Allison Pocino
Public Relations Specialist: Claire Eastburn
Public Relations Team: Coast PR
President: Jeanne Hoffa
Director: Kate Franklin
Chief Creative Officer: Glenn Cole
Group Creative Directors: Justin Hooper, Mick DiMaria
Creative Director, Designer: Tim Wettstein
Creative Director, Writer: Mark Maziarz
Senior Designer: Gabo Curielcha
Senior Writer: Chad Goodnoe
Group Strategy Director: Matt Johnson
Strategy Director: Kasia Molenda
Strategist: Eddie Moraga
Group Brand Director: Alexis Coller
Senior Brand Manager: Michal David
Brand Manager: Ali Arnold
Brand Coordinator: Kristyn Kazanjian
Director of Film Production: Sam Baerwald
Executive Film Producer: Molly McFarland
Senior Film Producer: Juliet Diamond
Film Production Coordinator: Taylor Stockwell
Director of Business Affairs: Michelle Mckinney
Business Affairs Director: Amy Jacobsen
Business Affairs Manager: Jennifer Jahinian
Business Affairs Coordinator: Taylor Henriquez
Director of Communications: Jeff Sweat
Communications Managers: Ginny Adams, Nicole Ryan
Production Company: Wondros
Director: Chris Applebaum
Chief Creative Officer: Anne-Marie Mackay
Executive Producer: Timory King
Head of Production: Doron Kauper
Producer: John Hardin
Editing: Jump LA
Editor: Fred Fouquet
Executive Producer: Betsy Beale
Visual Effects: JAMM Visual
Telecine: Beach House
Colorist: Mike Pethel
Executive Producer: Denise Brown
Audio, Sound Design: On Music and Sound
Mixer, Sound Designer: Chris Winston
Music Company: Extreme Music