This Australian TV commercial for KFC is officially titled “KFC Cricket Survival Guide.” It features a white Australian cricket fan, who, realizing all the fans around him are black and rooting for the opponent, offers up  “a tip when you’re stuck in an awkward situation.” What happens next? He offers the people around him a bucket of fried chicken! See for yourself:

The title this video has been given on YouTube is “Racist KFC Advertisement?” It’s generated a little bit of coverage so far, and most people seem to be suggesting that the ad is, in fact, racist.  In the title of its post, BuzzFeed is calling it “racist”, while Make the Logo Bigger asks  “Another racist KFC ad?”  MediaBistro’s AgencySpy doesn’t use the actual word racist, but the language used in framing up its blog post strongly suggests they feel that way as well.

So is the ad racist? Or is that just the way we American’s view it? That’s what one commenter at Buzzfeed suggests:

I don’t think the stereotype of black people loving fried chicken is popular anywhere but the USA, this ad would be pretty harmless in another country

On AgencySpy, another commentator named “Nancy” seems to agree with this sentiment, noting:

This is only racist when viewed through the prism of americans and their limited view of cultures and the world…..awkward situation is : Cricket World Cup took place in the west indes recently, of course Australian fan, lone among the jubilant west indian fans…tries to make friends …so what he offers chicken…in the west indes, we don’t survive on daily ingest of junk food, it is just eaten during lively, fun times like that

While a commenter named “Juan” adds:

The ad is meant to be satire, not demeaning, it could be misperceived as a racial stereotype, but its not aimed at the super sensitive U.S market with our out of control “political correctness” and our pretense at racial equality

However, in the original blog post, Agency Spy notes the clear racial undertones of a white guy describing himself as being in an “awkward situation just because he’s  stuck in a crowd of happy, cheering black people.” Meanwhile, other commenters call the ad “truly embarassing” and one asks, “Is KFC’s agency headed by Strom Thurmond?”

Haven’t heard of this commercial yet? Well lest you think this is going unnoticed, it’s the #18 most viewed video this month for the Australian version of YouTube and has received over 2,300 comments.

What do you think So Good readers? Racist? Unfortunate idea for an ad? Misinterpreted by American’s?

18 Responses

  1. mtlb

    Tongue firmly in cheek when I posed that question. ;-p I lean more towards maybe the dude’s just sitting in the wrong cheering section for the other team.

    Reply
  2. harleytexas

    Americans always think that everything has racial overtones if it has black and white people in it. They take things far too seriously and don’t realize that he is just trying to make everyone like him and include him by sharing his food, which happens to be chicken. Get over your racial ideas and just enjoy the commercial.

    Reply
  3. Nate

    KFC is a major sponsor of the cricket in Australia, hence the fried chicken.
    The crowd happens to be darker skinned because they are from the West Indies, one of Australia’s regular cricket opponents.
    Generally, the theme of KFC ads (in australia at least, i cant vouch for anywhere else) is togetherness. their ads during the cricket are generally for family meals, picnic boxes, anything to be shared among a crowd.
    As any one who has ever been seated at a sporting event surrounded by the opposition supporters could attest, this is an AWKWARD situation, no matter what their skin colour, or whether it is an international or interstate competition.
    To connect these points and to call them racist is JUST A LITTLE BIT OF A STRETCH. I don’t even like KFC and I have to back them on this one.

    Reply
  4. Molly

    While I don’t think it was made to be racist and in a real world it shouldn’t be considered racist given the lone person rooting for his team amongst a crowd rooting for the other team Americans have been raised to be hypersensitive. This would be a devistating ad for KFC in the US but Australians must have evolved further and can accept it for what it is, a harmless, not meant to be a racist commercial. If it were reversed and we saw a lone black man amongst a all white Irish fans and he offered them a drink I don’t think anyone would have cared.

    Reply
  5. Gilsy

    Its like saying its offense to white people cause he shares his chicken with black people. Rubbish. Americans. That last word was racist wasn’t it?

    Reply
  6. D.C. Hughes

    >>but Australians must have evolved further<<

    Oh? Really?

    Australia mulls race crime laws
    "The authorities in Australia are considering plans to impose tougher sentences for hate crimes.

    The move comes after a number of violent attacks on Indian students in the city of Melbourne"
    ref: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8078313.stm

    Reply
  7. Angela

    @MrBlond: Yes, and maybe there should have been some tap dancing and jazz, too.

    And even if it was an oversight and not the commercial’s intention, they were stupid to assume people wouldn’t take it that way.

    Reply
  8. MissE

    Oh good grief.
    What is with America’s need to force its own bull***t onto other countries? Nate has it right. The awkward situation is an Aussie supporter finding himself stuck in a crowd of West Indies supporters – who we are playing in the cricket here at the moment. Cricket is not a sport that gets played in the US on any really major level as far as I know and so this ad, which clearly has Yankee undies in a big old knot, would NEVER screen there. KFC sponsors the Cricket. Thus the fried chicken… which is not, as I understand it, a common food of choice for West Indian people, and does not have the same racial stereotypes attached to it that it does for the US and its peoples. Isn’t it racist of the Yanks to assume that all people of colour are the same? That they would all have the same history and experience? Why do they have to butt into EVERYTHING? It’s not like there’s any oil reserves involved here.

    Reply
  9. Nuddy

    Once again an outsider looking in and getting all the wrong ideas. No wonder the world dislikes Americans! There is an overwhelming tendency to judge others without even the slightest understanding or comprehension of the nuances of the culture being condemned. And let’s face it, they don’t understand cricket in the first place, so how could they possibly understand the relationship between cricketing nations and the banter that goes on between them? They can’t. Besides, if the West Indian population was not offended by it, then why should American outsiders be? Fix your own backyard before you start criticising mine! Oh, and get a sense of humour and lighten up. Being PC isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.

    Reply
  10. someone with logic

    Are you guys kidding me???? just take away the Fried chicken for a second..and say replace it with chocolate chip cookies…everybody likes chocolate chip cookies ,they don’t blong to any stereotypes….ITS STILL A RACIST COMERCIAL!!!!!why is he so uncomfortable around black people…don’t tell me because he’s on the wrong side of the bleachers!…your gonna tell me that every finger lickin’ fan from team “B” is black….get the F outta here…that commercial was racist as hell…

    Reply
  11. Kelly

    I’m pretty sure there’s a problem in Australia with the racism towards their “black people” – the aborigines. I’m no expert on the aboriginal facial structure, so I can’t definitively say if those are the people in the ad. (I don’t think there’s even a stereotype for fried chicken.)

    So while I’m not putting Australia above racism, I have to agree with the West Indies comment. Other places on the internet showing the video should really include that background information.

    Reply
  12. 1 American's Point-of-View

    I am an American. Please, before you go bashing me for being American, hear me out. I only speak for myself.

    I agree with the face that Many Americans are hypersensitive (as stated above). But given our history with race in the past, it’s not so crazy for Americans to be so hypersensitive. We don’t want to offend any one, and most importantly, we don’t want to get the crap kicked out of us for not being PC, or get sued.

    Personally, I didn’t see anything really raciest about the commercial, but I can see why other Americans might.

    Like someone along this blog line said, America isn’t big on Cricket.

    The only thing that really stood out for me was why did the guy think he was in an awkward situation? I’ve heard the argument that he’s “on the wrong side of the bleachers” but nobody was bothering him at all. So… what was awkward?

    Reply
  13. Ferrari Bubba

    I remember another rather awkard situation when I went to a L.A. Raiders football game and a Steeler fan sat in the middle of a bunch of drunk Raider fans. By the time the L.A.P.D. could get to him, he was stabbed and beaten to death. The cops called it suicide. — Yer pal, Ferrari Bubba

    Reply

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