23
   

KFC Pulls "Racist" Australian TV spot

 
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Jan, 2010 12:17 pm
Eorl is a journalist by profession. Issues such as this are of great interest to him, for what ought to be obvious reasons.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Jan, 2010 12:23 pm
By the way, Eorl, since i responded to you this morning (morning for me, late evening for you, i guess), this story has begun to proliferate in the U.S. "news" media. So far, they are playing the youtube phenomenon angle, rather than wailing and rending garments over racism. There's still time for that, of course . . .
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Thu 7 Jan, 2010 05:05 pm
@Eorl,
Sorry if I"m taking this on a bit of a marketing strategy tangent but IMO this was a no-brainer for KFC. These days there's no such thing as marketing for one market only. Gone are the days where your commercials from foreign markets stay there.

These days, your overseas marketing is going to impact you everywhere if it goes viral. For example, Microsoft used some stock photography but replaced a black man in the photo for their Polish site. It wasn't intended to be racist, just Poland-centric but in the US it generated controversy. When Coca Cola produced a Ramadan can design with a crescent moon and star for Muslim markets it generated controversy in the US because the Christmas designs are secular.

America isn't the center of the world, but this kind of move is just sane marketing. The segmentation of marketing between markets is disappearing. With things like YouTube your overseas commercials can backfire on you at home very easily.
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Jan, 2010 05:08 pm
@dlowan,
dlowan wrote:
He couldn't give a crap about the commercial...it's the US provincialism and undue power over what airs in another country that is the issue.


Why is it "undue" though? It's not like they actually control what airs in your country, they just decided to pull one of their own spots. If that is undue control I'd love to know who you'd like to put in control of their marketing campaigns.
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Jan, 2010 05:20 pm
@dlowan,
dlowan wrote:
It was designed for an audience which would see no reason to think racially about the ad.


Well this just doesn't work anymore. Marketing can now backfire on any market's cultural sensitivities.

A pity too, cause those Hollywood guys in ridiculous Japanese commercials were funny.

dlowan wrote:
Can't you USians get it through your heads that your cultural baggage is not universal!!!


Can you understand that it was not pulled because anyone things our cultural baggage is universal, but because it was causing backlash in the US.

This isn't about saddling Australia with American cultural bagagge, this is about America being a much larger market for KFC than Australia. Plus the commercial is awful, and there are a lot of ways it can be misinterpreted on a racial level (not just the fried chicken thing, but the "awkward situation" can appear to have to do with being surrounded by blacks instead of the intended opposing team's fans). It's just no real loss for KFC (unless I'm seriously underestimating the Australian capacity to get pissed of at an American company making decisions in an Australian market due to American market reasons).
dlowan
 
  4  
Reply Thu 7 Jan, 2010 05:22 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Given the drama, I am not quibbling with KFC's decision, I am quibbling with the drama that caused the withdrawal.

A bunch of ignorant US folk seem to have assumed US cultural stuff about bloody fried chicken is a global phenomenon.

Maybe it's time for some Americans to learn they don't reflect the entire world's experience.

dlowan
 
  3  
Reply Thu 7 Jan, 2010 05:23 pm
@Robert Gentel,
I am not pissed off at KFC...except for their disgusting food.

I am pissed off at the dumber portion of the US population.
0 Replies
 
Diest TKO
 
  2  
Reply Thu 7 Jan, 2010 05:31 pm
ebrownp - The thing you are forgetting is that even though KFC is an American company, it's Australian marketing department (the group that probably funded, wrote, filmed, and distributed the ad) is probably entirely Australian. I don't imagine Yum Corporate micromanages let alone even sees every advertisement put out in every country.

The ad was made by Australians to Australians. It's was pulled so that the company wouldn't look like they condoned racism (even if there wasn't any).

The ad was fine (I did kind of feel like I was watching the Dave Chappelle Show), but the ad being fine versus having to deal with lots of Americans who can be bothered to see the context and insignificance make this a pretty obvious choice for the people in charge of the company.

T
K
O
0 Replies
 
Diest TKO
 
  2  
Reply Thu 7 Jan, 2010 05:32 pm
@DrewDad,
DrewDad wrote:

Diest TKO wrote:
I remember last year seeing a series of KFC ads that seemed to have only Asian people in them. I was confused, but then I remembered how much I love fried chickens!

Isn't KFC huge in Japan, especially around Christmas?

http://www.travelblog.org/Asia/Japan/Hiroshima/Hiroshima/blog-230261.html

Quote:
So that's Christmas for another year. Although, in Japan, 'Christmas' was very unlike the Christmas back home. My host sister went to school to study (yes, school, on Christmas day), my host parents were working. I was like, what a bunch of Grinches! But fair enough, Christmas just isn't a big deal here. They do have some Christmas customs though - apparently eating KFC is one of these. On Christmas Eve, we drove past a KFC takeout place, and there was a line so long that it went out of the shop and all the way onto the street. So I wasn't completely surprised when, for tea tonight, there was a familiar looking red and white box containing pieces of 'original recipe' chicken on the table. Merry Christmas, indeed.

After tea we had a very beautifully decorated German Christmas cake, which, before eating, we all said 'itadakimasu!' Talk about a multi-cultural Christmas - American takeout, German cake, and Japanese set phrases. Weird...


My mind, blown. Whaaaaaa?

I feel like I just connected a bit with my culture. Roots, ya'll.

T
K
O
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Jan, 2010 05:44 pm
@dlowan,
dlowan wrote:
A bunch of ignorant US folk seem to have assumed US cultural stuff about bloody fried chicken is a global phenomenon.


Why do you think Americans are projecting this onto other cultures (as opposed to just reacting to the backlash within American culture itself)?

Quote:
Maybe it's time for some Americans to learn they don't reflect the entire world's experience.


As you well know, I am all about Americans learning they aren't the center of the universe. But in this case I really do think you guys are acting this way (with a healthy dose of little country syndrome), and not the Americans.

This commercial was not pulled because Americans think they reflect the entire world's experience. It was pulled because it was causing enough bad American experiences to merit doing so.

If your argument is that they should be able to understand that the intent was not to offend I get that, but I also think it's understandable for them to be concerned with the propagation of a racial stereotype, even if that isn't the intent.

But that is really a whole different can of worms, America is very race-sensitive and whether it is appropriately so is a big enough discussion. But I really don't think this particular case represents America's center of the world syndrome so much as it is just an example of increasing economic and cultural contagion due to globalization.
dlowan
 
  3  
Reply Thu 7 Jan, 2010 06:03 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Quote:
If your argument is that they should be able to understand that the intent was not to offend I get that, but I also think it's understandable for them to be concerned with the propagation of a racial stereotype, even if that isn't the intent.


Of course that is my argument...I honestly don't get why you are unclear on this. I have said it again and again, as well as repeating several times that I have no problem with KFC responding to un-founded pressure.

There WAS no propogation of a racial stereotype...except possibly that white Australians eat **** and are likely to be unhealthy.

I have no problems with Americans being race sensitive.

I DO have a problem with them assuming that their parochial TRIGGERS for racial sensitivity are universal.

For christ's sake...why would any thoughtful human assume that FRIED CHICKEN is a universal indicator of racism!!!!!!!

I don't expect much better, frankly, since it is a stereotype that many Americans are extremely ignorant about the rest of the world.

I know many are not, but there are a lot of you, so the ignorant form someting of a crowd.

Frankly, I was only mildly irked when this discussion began...it was some of the comments here that got me majorly irked.

And I don't think that American ignorance in this sort of matter.....(or at least an awareness that they MAY be ignorant, and need to explore context a bit more).....only irks little countries.

I think all countries get irked by this sort of thing. Just as Australians irk our neighbours by stupid ignorance about their countries. It's a pretty human sort of irk.

I know we often have little country syndrome...hell, I laugh it at myself. I don't think this is really a major example of it.

dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Jan, 2010 06:05 pm
@Robert Gentel,
I get your point about not being able to assume that ads will stay in one country.

That is why I have repeatedly said I don't blame KFC. (Except, as mentioned previously, for their their disgusting food, and their sheer ubiquity.)
0 Replies
 
Eorl
 
  4  
Reply Thu 7 Jan, 2010 06:35 pm
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:

Eorl is a journalist by profession. Issues such as this are of great interest to him, for what ought to be obvious reasons.


Not true. I'm slightly offended though, because if you actually think I am a journalist, then no doubt you think me a poor one. I am/have been deeply involved in advertising however, so yes, this is my field of interest .

But don't listen to me if you doubt my motivation, listen to dlowan.
The bunny does not peeve easily as far as I've seen. I think she's a pretty good barometer of intelligent Australian opinion. I'm a bit more of a drama queen and prone to bouts of unreasonable hysteria.

It feels a bit like this... It's like we are kids playing ghost with the Nigerian kid from next door, and we've made a ghost outfit from a white sheet and cut some holes for eyes, and it's my turn to be the ghost, and then Dad's visiting American friend walks in, tells my Dad I ought to flogged and grounded for a month, and my Dad has gone "Yeah, of course" and done it.
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Jan, 2010 06:50 pm
@dlowan,
dlowan wrote:
Of course that is my argument...I honestly don't get why you are unclear on this. I have said it again and again, as well as repeating several times that I have no problem with KFC responding to un-founded pressure.


I wasn't very clear. I understand that is part of your argument, but I don't think it's the extent of it and I can't subscribe to the subsequent conclusions about American culture projecting.

The part that I'm unclear about is why you think they need to be projecting American culture onto Australia in order to be offended by the commercial as opposed to just not discerning between intent and effect (which you, of course, know is a pretty common thing for us to do).

Quote:
There WAS no propogation of a racial stereotype...except possibly that white Australians eat **** and are likely to be unhealthy.


There wasn't one in intent, but I can see how it can be interpreted as forwarding the following stereotypes:

1) That being in the middle of a bunch of blacks is scary.
2) That blacks love them some fried chicken ('that was easy").

Honestly, TKO's Chappelle remark is spot on, it almost seems like a comedy skit intending to make a double entendre on those stereotypes.

Quote:
I have no problems with Americans being race sensitive.

I DO have a problem with them assuming that their parochial TRIGGERS for racial sensitivity are universal.


Why do you assume that they assume that in this case? I think a lot of them might not even know this was a foreign commercial. They are going to see a KFC ad on YouTube that seems like it's intentionally propagating that stereotype and get mad.

I don't get where you see the cultural projecting and undue influence in this, I really don't.

Quote:
For christ's sake...why would any thoughtful human assume that FRIED CHICKEN is a universal indicator of racism!!!!!!!


Why would any thoughtful person assume that this was a pre-requisite to being offended by this creative?

Quote:
I don't expect much better, frankly, since it is a stereotype that many Americans are extremely ignorant about the rest of the world.


Well, like I said earlier I think this is a case of Australians thinking they are the center of the world. And that they are an island (well they may have a point there) with no influence outside their culture. These ads reverberate beyond Australia and it's ironic that you talk about being ignorant of the rest of the world when the same can be said about the blind spot that let an ad like that out for KFC.

This particular stereotype could be devastating for KFC, and for it to get that far in the Australian market is pretty shocking to me, this isn't even one of those surprise cross culture problems like when the name you pick for your car happens to mean "penis" in some obscure language. The blacks/fried chicken gaffe is one of their corporate parent's worst advertising nightmares. Because a world exists outside of Australia this stereotype elsewhere matters.

Quote:
I think all countries get irked by this sort of thing. Just as Australians irk our neighbours by stupid ignorance about their countries. It's a pretty human sort of irk.


That's true, everywhere I go the most typical culture clash I see is someone taking offense that the other guy doesn't know something about their country or culture.

Sometimes it's justified (e.g. when a US president is calling the country he's visiting the wrong name) but other times it is just a minor bit of information asymmetry that is taken as an insult (e.g. "we are in the top 10 economies in the world and you don't know that we don't speak 'Brazilian' in Brazil?") but it really is very typical.

Quote:
I know we often have little country syndrome...hell, I laugh it at myself. I don't think this is really a major example of it.


I know, I learned the term from you. The parts that reminded me of it were about the "undue" cultural influence on Australia. American culture is loud, I can sympathize with little country syndrome given its influence on small countries. But if anything get mad that you have a KFC in your country!

On a side note, Costa Ricans love them some fried chicken. In downtown there are some areas where there is a KFC equivalent every 10 meters. I have no qualms saying this because this isn't an offensive stereotype to them. If I told it to their face they'd ask who doesn't love fried chicken.

And on a side side note, I think it's funny to see the trans-national issues take a classic political correctness debate and make the interlocutors take up a fundamentally different position on the matter.
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Jan, 2010 06:55 pm
@Eorl,
Eorl wrote:
It feels a bit like this... It's like we are kids playing ghost with the Nigerian kid from next door, and we've made a ghost outfit from a white sheet and cut some holes for eyes, and it's my turn to be the ghost, and then Dad's visiting American friend walks in, tells my Dad I ought to flogged and grounded for a month, and my Dad has gone "Yeah, of course" and done it.


I get the complete lack of intent part, but I don't see any punishment in this case. Here's how I'd do that analogy:

The two kids are playing ghost with the sheets, and a black American kid walks in and is offended. The parents agree that maybe it's best to take off the sheets.
0 Replies
 
Eorl
 
  3  
Reply Thu 7 Jan, 2010 07:16 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Yeah I know. Pulling the ad means max US dollars.
That don't make it right.
Right would have been declaring bluntly that it's absolutely NOT what you may think, and anyone who needs a full and complete explanation of the commercial can get one here.. (link)
Never gonna happen, obviously.
0 Replies
 
Eorl
 
  3  
Reply Thu 7 Jan, 2010 07:34 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Robert Gentel wrote:


I wasn't very clear. I understand that is part of your argument, but I don't think it's the extent of it and I can't subscribe to the subsequent conclusions about American culture projecting.


It seems that we'll need to be careful not to offend our anticipated audience and the entire USA. No doubt our ads (and american ads) are hugely offensive to many other countries in any number of ways, whether it be language or blasphemy or naked ankles, but other countries don't react as though their moral code is the one the entire world should adopt. You are saying that an American stereotype (little known outside the US) about African-Americans and fried chicken ... SHOULD be taken into account, in a commercial that has absolutely zero racial connotation in it's own arena, but that other countries sensitivities should continue to be ignored?
Part of what's irksome is that any American thinks they have a right to be offended by it. It has absolutely nothing to do with them.
If you could find a West Indian who was offended by this, and you won't because the ad would make sense to them, that would be different.


dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Jan, 2010 07:41 pm
@Robert Gentel,
I'll try and explain further when I get home. (I am on Intake and I shouldn't even be peeking in here!)


I AM mad that KFC is in my country!!!!


There's a steenking KFC on the opposite corner to my building.

I'd like to bomb it.

Fortunately, I can't see or smell it from my place.
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Jan, 2010 08:05 pm
@Eorl,
Eorl wrote:
You are saying that an American stereotype (little known outside the US) about African-Americans and fried chicken ... SHOULD be taken into account, in a commercial that has absolutely zero racial connotation in it's own arena, but that other countries sensitivities should continue to be ignored?


I am a believer in avoiding offense where possible, but I am not moralizing this issue, it makes perfect business sense for that ad to never have seen the light of day (c'mon, an American fried chicken brand can't be anywhere near that kind of imagery) and for it to have been pulled after a backlash.

Black Americans might be better served by noticing the lack of intent to offend, but I still understand both the failure to do so (they may not have seen it in the cross-cultural context, and if that was an American ad the subtext would have had to be intentional) as well as those who might just object to being reminded of it even if it wasn't intentional.

Whether they should have thicker skin is arguable but the comparison with other cultural sensitivities doesn't resonate much with me. If they do business with those cultures they should certainly consider the financial impact that pissing them off might have. And that is why if this was an Australian company's ad I think it would be a bit more silly for American outrage to get pulled. But as an American company it's just such an obvious marketing gaffe that I have a hard time seeing it in a moral context about what is an acceptable level of cultural offense.

Also complicating that is that I have different feelings about the end goals of the cultural differences. I don't like racism. But I'm not pro-burka either so I don't feel the same way about that cultural sensitivity.


Quote:
Part of what's irksome is that any American thinks they have a right to be offended by it. It has absolutely nothing to do with them.
If you could find a West Indian who was offended by this, and you won't because the ad would make sense to them, that would be different.


I certainly hope Americans have a right to be offended by it, just like I hope that you have a right to be irked by the reaction.
0 Replies
 
ebrown p
 
  2  
Reply Thu 7 Jan, 2010 08:13 pm
@dlowan,
http://aussiefavourites.com.au/cornershop/images/vegemite175.jpg

OK now... stop complaining.
 

Related Topics

Tomball KFC Shuts Down - Discussion by edgarblythe
Ummmm, What? - Discussion by djjd62
 
Copyright © 2019 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.03 seconds on 09/22/2019 at 05:51:35