Shanghaiist has always been miffed by KFC’s roaring success in China. In a country where
fine dining is the national pastime, how did something as mundane as fried chicken capture the discerning palettes of 1.4 billion Chinese? Well, thanks to the good people at Yum Brand China’s (KFC’s parent company) marketing department, we now know why — eating fried chicken makes you smarter and, better yet, helps you get the chicks, too! (No pun intended.)
A few weeks back, KFC began airing a television commercial with three college bound seniors in their final months as highschoolers. This is how Shanghai Daily described the spot:
The disputed ads played out a story of three high school students who were studying for their college entrance exam in a KFC restaurant. One boy, Xiao Dong was quite diligent at his studies, another boy and a girl did nothing but enjoy their KFC fast food. However, the result of their finals turned out twisted. The studious boy failed his exam while the other two friends made their way into universities in Beijing.
Sucks to be Xiao Dong, and the rest of China agrees. BBSs and chatrooms across China are flooded with messages decrying the fate of the young boy and blasting KFC for the ad’s underlying message.
For its part, KFC defended the ad:
The theme of the ad was meant to encourage young people to face up to their failures and to never give up. The young boy’s failure was just a coincidence and had nothing to do with whether he was eating at KFC or not.
Yeah, that didn’t make any sense to us either.
But, to show its “Vocal audience respect”, KFC made a few adjustments to the original ad. The new and improved version began airing two days ago with all three kids going on to the school of their dreams. Excellent! So where the old message used to be, “Eating fried chicken makes you smarter and helps you get the girl,” it is now “Eating fried chicken makes you smarter — not as much as before, but we’ll still help you nail the girl!” Nice recovery. Marketing geniuses at KFC, we salute you!