Thursday, March 18, 2010
Hardee's: Your Ghostbusters 2 Headquarters...
The Summer of 1989 was a big one for movie fans. With such major releases as Batman, Star Trek 5, Indiana Jones and the last crusade and Ghostbusters 2, it almost felt like every week during the summer there was a major event taking place across cinema screens. Fast food restaurants got in on the action with major promotional campaigns which tied-in to some of these big films. Two fast food joints that were relatively new to the movie tie-in world ended up acquiring the license for two huge films. Batman was picked up by Taco Bell and Ghostbuster 2 was snatched by Hardee's. Hardee's truly pulled out all the stops with a campaign that featured in store premiums, specialty food items and T.V. & print ads. The restaurant chain even produced a Ghostbusters themed commercial advertising their line of Ghostbusters soundmakers toys. More on the sound makers fiasco in a moment. The commercial aired constantly during the tie-in promotion which ran from June 26 to July 23.
Kids could get a special meal at Hardee's with a Ghostbusters 2 lunch box and for an extra $1.79 they could also get one of four electronic noisemaking toys meant for kids to scare away ghosts. After a few weeks of selling these toys Hardee's started receiving complaints from angry parents whose kids had mutilated the toys and swallowed the small battery inside the casing. After more than 15 cases of kids swallowing noisemaker batteries, on July 14, 1989 Hardee's corporate offices announced, in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Safety Commission, that it was voluntarily recalling all Ghostblaster toys which by now had been in distribution at over 3,100 of the chain's restaurants.
Due to the recall these toys are hard to come by these days and can go for more than 50 bucks for a set on ebay when they do show up. Adult collectors were also able to get a sweet looking 32 oz. Ghostbusters 2 cup at all participating restaurants until the promotion came to an end on July 23. In my opinion the Hardee's GB 2 cup is one of the best looking movie themed cups ever offered at a fast food place. Another great item offered at Hardee's during the promotion was the Slimer sundae which was covered in a green slime-like syrup which actually tasted like bubble gum.
I really miss the days when fast food chains went all out with big promotional campaigns for the major summer movies. They still do it today but not as often. Two great examples from recent years include the awesome Burger King Star Trek promotion from last summer and 2008's Burger King Indiana Jones' campaign. In future posts I will be taking a look back at other major fast food movie tie-ins from the 80s.