KFC Reminds Us of the Importance of Culturally Sensitive Marketing

Along with hen, KFC is frying up controversy.

On August 24 Azim Akhtar, KFC Canada’s Director of Advertising, tweeted just a few billboard photographs from the corporate’s new “It’s finger lickin’ good” marketing campaign.

Whereas the adverts are imagined to be playful, suggesting that utensils aren’t wanted to get pleasure from KFC, X customers shortly identified that all the photographs featured Black individuals consuming fried hen and feed into dangerous stereotypes.

Upon receiving the pushback, Akhtar took to X to make clear that the print photographs had been a part of a broader marketing campaign and shared a video model of the advert that featured a various group of actors casting apart utensils to get pleasure from KFC with their fingers.

Although sharing the video was an try to offer broader context, it left social media customers wondering why the inventive used on the billboards didn’t replicate the variety of the business. Different commentators speculated that the imagery was deliberately used to fire up controversy.

The Significance of Culturally Competent Advertising

Whereas fried hen shouldn’t be inherently racial, North America has a historical past of stereotyping the consumption of fried hen by Black individuals, utilizing it as a demeaning trope. Failing to take this historic context into consideration is certainly a misstep for the model.

We noticed one other instance earlier this summer season in the course of the Barbie film’s promo. The official X account for the Warner Bros. movie shared light-hearted responses to fan-made photographs of Barbie and Oppenheimer. The transfer was seen as distasteful to Japanese audiences given the historical past of nuclear weapons utilized in Japan throughout World Warfare II. Warner Bros. later issued an apology for the insensitive engagement.

These examples present the significance of culturally competent advertising and marketing. To keep away from errors like this sooner or later, advertising and marketing groups ought to goal to:

  • Perceive related historic context and the way completely different demographics could also be impacted by a chunk of context
  • Enlist various groups with entrepreneurs of various backgrounds and experiences who can present needed insights
  • Always look at, query, and deconstruct biases that will present up of their content material

Whereas outrage can contribute to virality, not all engagement is sweet engagement. Culturally insensitive content material breaks the viewers’s belief and might overshadow doubtlessly constructive experiences a buyer can have with a model.

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