Thursday, January 06, 2005

KFC stands for....?

I don't have a TV right now, so I'm out of the loop, but about 5 months ago, KFC had a very strategic ad campaign that I had the pleasure of having beaten into my brain. Their prior campaign consisted of commercials that were starred by an animated Colonel Sanders - that poor bastard had the misfortune of looking like Mark Twain while he was alive, and now that he's dead, they've turned his ass into a cartoon. The commercials that I caught a few months ago were still poorly thought out, but were at least less disrespectful to their beloved founder.

All the cool kids know that KFC stands for 'Kentucky Fried Chicken', but in KFC's last set of commercials, they were trying to hit the 'uncool' demographic by saying that it stands for 'Kitchen Fresh Chicken'. Why would they do such a thing? Could it perhaps be that fatty food just doesn't sell so well these days, and the word 'fried' in their name is doing them in? I mean after all, Subway has their token former-fatass, Jared, as their spokesman, and they're making shitloads off of pushing the 'healthy' angle. KFC had a skinny spokesman too, but he was a cartoon; cartoons just aren't as trusted as they used to be - we've been burned too many times. Swapping the word 'fried' for 'fresh' seems like a long overdo marketing strategy, but that wasn't what caused them to switch. The word 'fried' wasn't the problem; 'Kentucky' was.

Unbeknownst to most Americans, Kentucky is actually one of their country's states. It was once a vital source of American culture, but in 1792, when the popularity of incest took a backseat to that of intelligence (which at the time was called 'know-how'), Kentucky's reputation began a never-ending spiraling decline. Although it's still home to the world's largest export of corncob pipes, all production has been moved to Mexico. There's an age old saying that describes the state quite eloquently: "What's a 'kentucky'?"

"Hey, asshole, I'm from Kentucky!"
"Are you proud of that?"
"Well, no... but you're making the wound deeper."
"Moving on then..."

I grew up in Los Angeles, which is home to cheap American bastardizations of many cultural cuisines. We went out for dinner pretty much every night, so we always had to pick a type of food to eat. "Kids, any suggestions? There's Chinese, Greek, American, Japanese, Mexican, Italian, ..." "Let's have Kentuckian tonight!" "Excellent idea, Rand; you've renewed my conditional parental love for you." Now that Kentuckian is off the menu, I'm sure to be disinherited.

KFC was the last thing that Kentucky had to keep its name alive... now it'll be sent to the back of the class to sit with Wyoming. Nobody even talks about Wyoming anymore... Wyoming touches himself under the desk while the teacher vigorously erases the blackboard. Don't even fucking bring up the 'Kentucky Derby' or whatever... I'm assuming that has to do with car or horse races, and there's a strict requirement of having at least an 80 IQ to read my writings; whoever's reading this aloud to a Nascar fan better fucking stop right now. As I said, if 'K' stands for 'kitchen', nothing stands for 'Kentucky'.

You're probably still thinking that they were trying to ditch the image of Jared's before picture. Let's break this down. 'Kentucky Fresh Chicken' doesn't sound so bad, and it's an entirely more subtle switch than what they went for. They fucking owned the word 'Kentucky', and it makes that picture of the Colonel represent something exotic and backwoodsy... now people are just going to be wondering why they have an aged beatnik's image hanging above their restaurants. If they were just trying to ditch the word 'fried', they'd have been better off just changing the one word.... besides, changing the first word in your name is a drastic move.

Let's consider the other side. What if 'Kentucky' was the word that they wanted to lose.... if you had that in your name, wouldn't you want it gone? 'Kitchen Fried Chicken' doesn't work... what kind of a nutcase has a deepfrier in his kitchen? It presents an odd image, and isn't going to amount to money for them, or fat children for us. The only kind of person that I can see having the ability to deep fry chicken at home is a Kentuckian.... but obviously, that's the very image they were trying to avoid. So the changing of one word works if they were trying to avoid seeming fatty.... but if they were trying to distance themselves from Kentuckians (as we all should do), they had to change two words.... which they did. Never fucking argue with me... I always win.