We live in a time where some of the biggest brands of yesteryear have found themselves in hot water recently amongst today’s consumers when it comes to the messaging in marketing. Long gone are the days when a haute couture house like Balenciaga could get away with a fashion editorial that fetishizes children for style-driven shock value. No longer can a lingerie brand as big as Victoria’s Secret in the ’90s survive in today’s climate with its signature stick-figure standard body frame — well, former standard, thanks to new billion-dollar competitors like Rihanna’s inclusion-focused Savage X Fenty line. In short, everyone’s paying way more attention to what they’re paying for, and more importantly the package it’s being sold in.
That’s been quite the topic of debate on social media these past few days when it comes to a new ad campaign by fast food empire Kentucky Fried Chicken. Famously shorted as KFC, the company’s Canadian market released a set of print and commercial promos that play heavy on the chain’s “Finger Lickin’ Good” slogan. The over-arching theme sees KFC jokingly “apologizing” to utensils for providing food so good that it only requires hands to consume, preferably at a ravenous pace.
Unfortunately, not everyone saw it as “finger lickin’ fun” and felt their apology should be for the campaign itself. The print ads in particular depicting a Black man getting down on a drumstick and a Black woman using her fingernails as toothpicks for a chicken sandwich caused most of the uproar and had some of our people screaming,“das raciiist!” Even when KFC Canada’s Director of Marketing, Azim Akhtar, posted the ad in its entirety on social media platform X, some still weren’t too satisfied with the company’s strong stance behind the campaign.
We all know Black people don’t play when it comes to our food. Who could forget Mary J. Blige’s now-infamous 2012 “crispy chicken” Burger King commercial, which received such a negative reaction that the entire thing was pulled. The Queen Of Hip-Hop Soul even had to release an official statement on the matter, telling CNN at the time, “I agreed to be a part of a fun and creative campaign that was supposed to feature a dream sequence. Unfortunately, that’s not what was happening in that clip, so I understand my fans being upset by what they saw. But, if you’re a Mary fan, you have to know I would never allow an unfinished spot like the one you saw to go out.”
You tell us what you think:
That same year, Ashton Kutcher of MTV’s Punk’d and That 70s Show fame had a similar controversy for appearing in brownface, complete with a fake Indian accent, in a full ad campaign for Popchips. He even had on fake dreadlocks for one part!
While the two former examples of racially insensitive ads were rightfully scolded and swiftly swept under the rug to hopefully be forgotten about one day — sorry, we’ll be quick! — does KFC Canada deserve the same treatment?
See what many are saying about how KFC Canada’s new “Finger Lickin’ Good” ad campaign makes them feel, and let us know your thoughts on this latest race debate:
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Finger Lickin’ Foul? KFC Called Out For Ad Campaign Deemed “Racially Insensitive” was originally published on blackamericaweb.com
1. Ad is racist and the commercial trash
2. aw naw they needa be apologizing for something else
3. For a Ugandan, this ad campaign may be relatable. For Black decendants of chattel slavery in North America, this ad campaign is quite racist. From the time of our emancipation, white people have associated us with fried chicken and watermelon – as if they don’t eat it too.
4. Horribly offensive
5. DISGUSTING 🤢 the apology parallels
6. the replies are why it’s important to have diverse marketing teams btw
7. This how I know racism not gon ever end: a sea of white PROFESSIONALS in the replies congratulating this racist mfer on this 🥷s only ad for fried chicken. Like bffr! Quote
8. this is the same company mind you…
9. now i love a check, don’t get me wrong, but i’ll never hop on an ad selling fried chicken as a Black person. there’s no way to do it without it looking and feeling racist
10. I think this campaign is brilliant. Visually, it’s strong as hell. However, and this is a big however, this lacked cultural sensitivity. Casting missed the mark.