Revisiting The Ghostbusters 2-Hardee’s Promotion

 In 1989, Hardee’s teamed up with The Ghostbusters for a promotion that fans felt was just too hot to handle and too cold to hold. 

From June 25-July 30 1989, fans of Ghostbusters could visit their local Hardee’s to join in on a fun promotion featuring some memorable items. Food, toys, a cup and poster, even a dessert! Now these days, it’s pretty normal to get a movie themed dessert and high end promotion with all the works but for a company like Hardee’s at the time, it wasn’t as expected. It was, pun intended, a real nice treat. 

Admittedly, I am a bit based towards my love of Hardee's. I have many cherished memories going there with my father, who LOVED Hardee’s, so we’d find ourselves there quite often for lunch or if on the way down to the Eastern Shore of Maryland to one of his skydiving meets. Hardee’s was a big deal to us. It was one of our special things. And as you get older and you look back, those special things are usually the biggest things in the world to you. 

Of course, you can’t have a good promotion without a commercial! Check this out. A quick tv spot featuring the staff of a local Hardee’s preparing for the huge Slimer inspired overhaul the restaurant is about undertake. 

From the collection of DinosaurDracula

Some regular items such as a simple ice cream cone or salad were given a GB2 themed packaging. And unlike McDonalds, Hardee’s ice cream machines ALWAYS worked and thankfully for us, it provided a very memorable item that is still discussed and fondly remembered to this day. More on that in a moment.

Cup from my collection.

 A large cup was offered for purchase for an extra charge. A nice little souvenir to commemorate your trip and a great way to stay cool with an icy cold soda on a hot summer day! This has always been a favorite cup and one that we had in our family since that summer. It was a sturdy thicc boi adorned with the GB2 logo on one side and a “Official Ghostbusters 2 Headquarters” logo on the other. While I don’t have the one purchased in 89, I did grab one years ago and it remains on my shelf with the rest of my Ghostbusters collection!

From the collection of DinoDrac

Some items such as the kids meal went a little crazy. Instead of a regular cardboard kids meal box, a 2 piece plastic containers in the shape of an Ecto 1, Slimer, a PKE meter and a random ghost (maybe one of the Scaleri Brothers) were offered. I actually had the Slimer box and the cool thing about it was you could actually use the tops of the container as food mold. At least, that’s what my family thought one evening when we attempted to make a Slimer jello mold. I can still recall the taste. It was very bad. Imagine very bitter tasting gummy snacks and that’s the monstrosity we created. Maybe it’s just my family. I don’t know, it’s always something with us. SMH.

From the collection of DinoDrac

The kids meal fun didn’t end there. Heavens no! Included with every meal was a prize! A very loud and a very annoying prize. 4 different colored noise makers that kinda just buzzed like an annoying bug were included in every kids meal. They were essentially just cheap party favors from Oriental Trading with the Ghostbusters 2 logo and served no purpose other than to annoy our older siblings. Mission accomplished. Because my older brother got fed up with it and eventually destroyed it.  Looking back now I can’t really be mad. I get it. That’s one point for you, big bro.

Pencil Box from the collection of Adam Pope

And in some cases you even got yourself a fully branded Ghostbusters 2-Hardees pencil box! Not big enough to be a lunchbox but it’s certainly a cool container for you to use at your desk at school…or an adult now.

From the collection of DinoDrac

The last item is one of those “holy grail” items. For good reason. By now, if you’ve been hanging around social media, nostalgia blogs, podcasts and YouTube videos, you have no doubt heard of the legendary Slimer Sundae. Another example of just how far Hardee’s was willing to go with this promotion, this was a mere vanilla sundae topped with a green colored bubblegum sauce. Yeah, you read right. They went above and beyond and this seems to be something that they never revisited and unless I’m wrong(I always welcome corrections) I’ve never seen another fast food place ever attempt it. I don’t know if that’s good or bad but it’s a huge humble brag for Hardee’s who are to my knowledge the one and only place to try it. I actually attempted to recreate this a few years ago and while it looked as close to what I had hoped, it didn’t go too well… 

According to some who experienced this promotion in person, a few stores even had an Ecto 1A as well as a handful of Ghostbusters had stopped by for a fun afternoon of munching on burgers and to take photos with fans of all ages. Sounds like a great Saturday afternoon to me. Heck, if Hardee’s were to announce that now, I’d be there in an instant.

Fun side note: During all this hoopla, NASCAR Legend Dale Jarrett, who drove the Hardee’s themed car, unveiled a newly designed Hardee’s-Ghostbusters 2 for one race in the Coca Cola 600 in 1989. While the car didn’t help Dale win the race itself, it was a very cool visual!

Poster from my collection.

The history of Hardee’s and Ghostbusters 2 isn’t very complicated but it is a memorable one. When you get right down to it, Mcdoanlds or Burger King could’ve done this on a much wider, national scale but I feel like Hardee’s being the one to do it made it even more special. As I’ve said in previous entries, my dad wasn’t big on McDonalds, he was a Hardee’s and Roy Roger’s guy so sharing a trip to Hardee’s with him for this promotion, sticks out to me. And perhaps this promotion is a huge reason why I love Ghostbusters 2 to this day. 

Thank you so much to my friends Adam of The Geekster Podcast and  Matt of DinosaurDracula who was kind enough to allow me to use some photos from their personal collection. It was very helpful in illustrating just how outrageous this promotion could be.

-Chad Ecto 

Popular Posts