KFC clucks it all up
Back story: in April, Lucire ran a PETA advertisement that asked consumers to boycott KFC for cruelty to the chickens it used at its restaurants. Yesterday, I received a letter from the CEO of the New Zealand franchisee. While she forbids me to reproduce her letter in any form, it’s my choice for me to reproduce part of my reply to Restaurant Brands’ CEO Vicki Salmon. I encourage KFC to reproduce my letter in any form in any medium.
We refer to your letter of the 10th inst., referring to an advertisement in the April 2006 issue of Lucire for PETA.
Please note that your concerns should principally be directed at the advertiser as this advertisement did not originate from us, though we have considered your position.
When organizations advertise with us, they are responsible for ensuring that their material is not defamatory, misleading or deceptive. They are legally and solely responsible. We imagine Restaurant Brands has encountered such advertising contracts with the media it uses and, therefore, ﬁnd it surprising that you have come to us. As with most publications, advertisements do not carry with them any endorsement from the publisher.
We have discharged our responsibility to be vigilant and had a written exchange with PETA when we ﬁrst saw the advertisement’s artwork, speciﬁcally over whether its claims applied to KFC in New Zealand. PETA informed us:
it actually applies all over the world. We have done numerous demonstrations in Europe, China, India … etc. against KFC.
… We can provide contact information for PETA, or it may be reached via www.peta.org. We strongly recommend that you address your concerns with them directly.
I still don’t get why KFC contacted me. Has it never encountered an advertising contract before? Does it not know that ours is the conventional position?
Secondly, why attempt to bully a publisher? Do they not want my cooperation in stopping the advertisement? Not from what I can gather: we are the target. A wiser move would be to ask for my help, nicely. Lesson one: leaders are meant to inspire, not create conﬂict.
Guess we won’t be seeing her company win any Medinge Brands with a Conscience prizes. (I did joke with members over a “dumb brands of 2005” award. Hmmm.)
I’ll be a gentleman and assist her with her threat, I mean, enquiry, but speaking for myself, her letter puts me in a position ﬁrmly against KFC. Sure, I see letters with legalese every day, but this has to rank as one of the least intelligent, as she alienates me immediately. Obviously, Ms Salmon does not know about my legal training—she probably thinks I’m some illiterate immigrant Chink. Lesson two: don’t burn your bridges before you begin.
I’m personally boycotting KFC now—and God knows Lucire staff members have been frequent customers (to the point where we get discounts at our local branch). I believe my whole ﬁrm will join me. Some of our staff have already boycotted it for health reasons, and others are vegetarian.
I’m not boycotting KFC for the reasons in the PETA advertisement, which at this moment might not apply to the New Zealand market—I can’t tell you how they don’t because Ms Salmon has forbid me to—but I am boycotting it because I can’t fathom how unbusinesslike the franchisee is. Lesson three: everything is part of your brand, including your correspondence. Failing to live it undoes any positive marketing that you have done.
I hate to think of the sad corporate culture Restaurant Brands must have, if her letter is any indication of how it operates.
KFC has just lost itself a few customers from our head ofﬁce, and I imagine my international staff will follow suit. (Oh, when I boycott, it sticks. I have not shopped at Woolworths since 1993, and McDonald’s since 2004.)
Del.icio.us tags: KFC boycott brand correspondence PETA Posted by Jack Yan, 11:34
In the U.S., KFC is plagued by both PETA attacks and some really terrible advertising. In recent years the fast food joint has blundered through ad campaigns touting healthy benefits and contrived jingles. Your tale is symptomatic of the company’s overall problem: KFC focuses efforts on themselves versus making better food and improving the customer experience.
Hi HighJive: I can’t even remember a KFC campaign here since one with Ryan Stiles as a ﬁreman, imported from the US. For this ofﬁce, it was habitual—KFC was nearby, so we went. Well, not any more. Fortunately, they never said their stuff was healthy here, but the tone of Ms Salmon would suggest to me that what goes on there in the States is replicated here culturally. (At least KFC could say it has a faithful franchisee!)
The current KFC tagline in the states: Chicken Capital USA.
Obviously, that doesn't translate outside of our country (unless they're going by Chicken Capital Australia in your neck of the woods).
Not sure why they appointed themselves such a title. I don't recall voting on it. Sounds as suspicious as Bush's victory over Gore.
I have not gone to a KFC in over 20 years... Clearly, I am an elitist! Welcome to the club, you are.
So, I am lead to conclude that bullying techniques do not work on you. OK, I just can not not get serious about issues that I am very distant from. Thanks for reporting on this, it is the kind of transparency that will make consumers more and more aware of their own power.
# posted by Dannie Jost: 5/16/2006 10:11:00 AM
You would be right, Dannie—and I think bullying would never truly work on anyone. Maybe on the surface, but people don’t really change deep down. Thank you for your compliments—and yes, information is a good thing for the consumer movement. If people knew who owned what and where their money went, things would be very different indeed.
Sounds like KFC's freaking out to me. I could see if you were single-handedly responsible for funding the PETA campaign but that's obviously not the case.
True, Nicole. I suppose I should be ﬂattered that they think I am such a huge PETA benefactor! Morally, I do support what they do, but I would draw the line at falsehoods; however, I had every right to presume innocence on PETA’s part, which was something that KFC were unprepared to provide to Lucire.Post a Comment
Links to this post:
NoteEntries from 2006 to the end of 2009 were done on the Blogger service. As of January 1, 2010, this blog has shifted to a Wordpress installation, with the latest posts here.
With Blogger ceasing to support FTP publishing on May 1, I have decided to turn these older pages in to an archive, so you will no longer be able to enter comments. However, you can comment on entries posted after January 1, 2010.
Individual JY&A and Medinge Group blogs
DonateIf you wish to help with my hosting costs, please feel free to donate.
Copyright ©200210 by Jack Yan & Associates. All rights reserved. Photograph of Jack Yan by Chelfyn Baxter.