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It's In-N-Out That's Hot With Hilton, Not Carl's Jr.

September 09, 2006|Jerry Hirsch | Times Staff Writer

Last year, Carl's Jr. ran a commercial featuring Paris Hilton cavorting to the tune of Cole Porter's "I Love Paris."

But when it comes to hamburgers, it seems as if Paris' true love is not Carl's -- but In-N-Out Burger.

The celebrity's new burger preference popped up early Thursday morning when she was arrested in Hollywood on suspicion of driving under the influence after attending a charity fundraiser party.

"I was just really hungry, and I wanted to have an In-N-Out burger," Hilton told KIIS-FM (102.7) radio in an interview.

It was a startling admission for the 25-year-old Hilton, who last year appeared in a Carl's Jr. television commercial wearing a skimpy black bathing suit washing herself and a black Bentley while nibbling on the fast-food chain's Spicy BBQ Burger.

Hilton is no longer a celebrity endorser for the chain, and Carl's Jr. owner CKE Restaurants Inc. doesn't even have the rights to the commercial, said Anne Hallock, the company's spokeswoman. Hallock declined to comment on Hilton's change of allegiance or how much she was paid for the commercial.

But Hilton's urge to go to In-N-Out should be no surprise to CKE.

"It's not uncommon for celebrities to not display one iota of product loyalty," said Peter Sealey, a former Coca-Cola Co. global marketing director who now runs consulting firm Sausalito Group Inc.

Sealey recalled that "American Idol" judge Paula Abdul once boarded a Coca-Cola private jet with a diet Pepsi in her hand.

In-N-Out also wouldn't comment. But the company probably welcomed Hilton's remarks.

"It establishes In-N-Out Burger as the gold standard for the target audience of Carl's Jr.: 19-year-old boys who eat 6,000 calories in a meal," Sealey said.

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jerry.hirsch@latimes.com

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