Sunday, January 10, 2010

KFC gets no love.

Hey Doc,

I’m guessing that you’ve already heard something about this but I only heard about it this morning via Gulf Stream Blues. KFC has pulled an Australian ad that depicts a white Australian in the midst of blacks supporting the West Indian Cricket Team. Trying to relieve an awkward situation, he presents a bucket of fried chicken to his neighbors. Apparently the ad was pulled after Americans caught wind of it on YouTube.

For an American who doesn’t see the context of the ad, this would seem racist since fried chicken is associated as part of the black stereotype. Having just written that, it seems so ridiculous but there it is. What’s even worse is that it was a white man providing the chicken! You can read this situation as just being an awkward situation and him trying to make nice (which is what I think they were going for) or you can read it as a white guy who can only calm down the black people by giving them chicken (which is what is being seen here). So we’ve got Americans complaining about an ad that’s not marketed towards them and Aussies who think the Yanks are crazy. I don’t know about you but I find that funny.

I get why Australians would want the Americans to shut their pie holes about this but I also understand why KFC felt it had to pull that ad. The fact is that KFC has a horrible time when it comes to public relations. It seems like every time they are in the media, something is going wrong. Whether it’s the name change, trans-fat, chicken abuse, cash-only options, the Oprah-coupon debacle, and now this. Considering most customers are here, trying to do damage control state-side by changing marketing campaigns abroad seems logical.

h/t ChubbyWubby1980 for posting the vid.


QuakerJono said...

I was reading about this on Metafilter. Pure entertainment value.

Such is marketing of a multinational brand in a global economy. Good lesson for KFC.

Although, one wonders if this means Australians will get to insist that "The Awesome Blossom" and Outback Steakhouse in general are an affront to their culture and traditions?

John Provis said...

In answer to that last question: Yes, it is an affront, but mainly because the food is garbage. And while we're at it, so is any Hollywood actor who has ever tried to put on an Aussie accent and ended up sounding South African instead. Fortunately we're a forgiving sort of country... well, actually what's more likely is that we're too lazy to get badly offended, and would rather just complain a little and then go to the beach instead. It is 42 degC here today, after all...

And on the ad: I doubt that anyone in Australia would find it even remotely offensive, purely because most people here have no idea that the love of fried chicken should be associated with a particular skin colour. It is associated with being fat, yes... but that's another issue entirely.

To me, probably the most offensive part of the ad is the hideous 1980s-vintage yellow Australian cricket shirt the guy is wearing - and I believe the storyline they were aiming for is that this guy has been sitting in the middle of a Jamaican steel-drum band for the past 6-8 hours (that's how long a day at the cricket takes), and just wants a minute or two of quiet. I've sat in the middle of the Indian and Pakistani fans sections at various cricket matches over the years, and can sympathise entirely with him...

David said...

@QuakerJono: What culture and traditions? According to the Europeans we don't have any 'cause we're too young. I guess then that must mean Australia doesn't have any either!

@John P.: KFC is garbage but Outback Steakhouse rules.

There's not very much that comes from Australia that I find offensive. Even your actors and actresses are pretty good. They can do American accents well. Except for Russel Crowe. Does he even seriously try? Nah I can't think of anything....

...except Foster's.

...and vegemite.

...and Rupert Murdoch.

Yeah, you go right ahead and enjoy that heat. *grumbles* :P