Sunday, January 10, 2010

KFC Ad = Misguided not Racist

The furor surrounding a 20 second ad about Cricket and KFC is just a little ridiculous doncha think? Apparently this ad was considered racist when it was uploaded to YouTube and was seen by American audiences. While I do acknowledge that at first glance this little ad may be seen to be promoting racial stereotypes that rowdy black people will calm down if you give them some fried chicken, a few contextual points should be noted.

First up these supporters are not African American. They are from the West Indies. That being said, there doesn't seem to be any negative stereotypes associated with people from the West Indies and Fried Chicken. One could make the argument that those who are condemning this ad are making offensive stereotypes themselves for assuming that the people in this ad are African American.

Secondly, when the white dude says he is in an "awkward" situation, it is because he is the lone Aussie supporter amongst a whole schwack of rowdy West Indies Supporters, not because he is surrounded by black people. I think it would have been prudent for the ad team to consider including one white supporter apart from the white dude.

Finally, I would hazard a guess that the majority of Australians are not aware of any stereotype regarding African Americans and Fried Chicken. Geez, outside of the US, there are probably not many who aware of this stereotype.

KFC quickly caved to the outcry and have removed the ad from the air. But the debate rages on. My opinion - for what it is worth. Racist - no. I do not think that the Ad men/women who came up with the concept for the ad made a conscious decision to make an ad that would be construed as racist. Oh and did I mention that the ad was never intended to air in the only segment of the population that would find it racist or offensive.

I completely understand that this ad viewed in a vaccuum may be considered racist. I understand why so many people are up in arms and offended by it's content. But I do not think it was intentionally racist. Misguided most definitely. I am pretty sure that a few of the marketing team at KFC Australia may be looking for new jobs right about now.


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