KFC is raising eyebrows for a new promotion to advertise the KFC Double Down: paying college co-eds $500 to wear sweatpants emblazoned with “Double Down” across their ass cheeks.  Their team of promoters have already been active in Louisville, Kentucky, and they plan to hire these “ass billboards” on three more college campuses.

Oh where to begin….shall we start with the obvious ickyness of KFC treating female asses as billboards? Or the enlisting of college co-eds in a not-so-veiled use of their youthful sex appeal? Or the fact that viewing this KFC ad will require people to literally stare directly at the ass of a woman? How about the fact that KFC is offering a flat-fee stipend for women who are chosen to participate, effectively valuing the college female ass at $500? Or maybe we should talk about the fact that KFC is only extending this employment offer to women, and not men (c’mon college guys, someone file a frivolous sex discrimination lawsuit already).

Now it would be easy to say that something like this shows we’ve reached a new low in fast food advertising. But we’ve seen Burger King hold a virtual lock on that market with their blow job and “shower babe” campaigns.

What’s perhaps most offensive about this advertising campaign is not the creepy sexual over/under tones, but the tone-deafness it shows from KFC’s marketing team. Bottom line: this ain’t gonna work.  I mean sure, it’s “working” in the sense that me and a hundred other food & marketing bloggers, not to mention the mainstream media, will write about it, giving KFC millions of dollars in free media. But is this type of marketing really going to “work” by increasing KFC’s sales in the long-term? I think not.

The recent sale of Burger King has revealed the terrible financial state of the company.  While McDonald’s focused on expanding its menu with more salad options, gourmet smoothies and coffees and more menu options targeted at women, Burger King went all-in on their strategy of appealing to the big-eating 18-34 year old male demographic. Burger King created marketing campaigns that shamelessly appealed to this group, offending other market segments be damned.  The result? Burger King sales are suffering as its target audience has been disproportionately hurt by the recession and thus has less money to spend. Meanwhile, McDonald’s stock continues to soar as its diversified menu draws in more and more customers.

KFC is facing a similar situation to Burger King, but seemed to want to broaden its appeal to a wider audience with its new “So Good” slogan and marketing efforts. It is surprising to see they have “doubled down” on the headline-grabbing-but-sales-hurting strategy that has been widely considered a failure in light of continuing sales losses to competitors.

What do you think So Good readers? Does this advertising strategy bother you? Creep you out? Do you think it’s cool? Catchy? A poor business strategy? Let us know your thoughts.

6 Responses

  1. greetingsvirginia

    Yikes! This is awful. Why people think strategies this cheap! Very Innovative, cute, genuine ads are always appreciated. Not this kind. They must stop this to save their brand name.

  2. Nate @ House of Annie

    Their marketing team must have been downsized, and all they could afford were recent college grads.

    One wonders if they’re only giving out sweatpants of a certain size, so that plus-sized women are not allowed to wear these “Double down” pants.

  3. Pablo Edwards

    @Nate… good question. I can see why they would try this, but come on… this is ridiculous and inappropriate, although I wonder if this is the same thought process behind Victoria’s Secret’s sweatpants branding but it just gets over looked.

  4. Grafton

    Heh. This is not the first time I’ve seen advertising copy printed across the seat of a woman’s trousers. At least they are paying these women to wear them. More often people pay for the privilege of wearing advertisements.


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