Saturday, January 15, 2011

Student Post: KFC & Stereotypes

by Penelope & Martin

A lot was discussed about this KFC Australian commercial. In the spot we see a single white cricket fan handing out a KFC bucket of fried chicken to appease a group of loud cheering black West Indies fans. 

Although it was intended only for the Australian audience it soon ran around the world through the power of the Internet and what was just a culture-based advertising for the Australians became a racist offense for the Americans. 

What triggered the outrage of the Americans was that fried chicken in the US is strongly associated with old racist stereotypes. A commentator on the subject in the Digg site says that the “southern style chicken is associated with the African-American culture from when they found it an affordable means of eating during the slavery period.” But reminding that the campaign was intended for Antipodeans only it has their own culture in the background and should therefore be interpreted accordingly.

On top of that, KFC is the global sponsor of the West Indies cricket team, a multi-national cricket team representing a sporting confederation of 15 mainly English-speaking Caribbean countries. Test Match cricket has been played between the West Indies and Australia since 1930. And it is a fact that most Caribbean’s are black and for sure not African-American.

Another important remark is that the expression “Too easy” used by “Mick”, the Australian team fan in the commercial, is one of the most said Australian expressions, used in multiple scenarios and it can be understood something like “no problem”.

What do you think? Does using West Indies as the “other team” makes the ad racist? Should “Mick” be black as well? Or should it be the other way around? But wouldn’t that be racist too? And most important, were the West Indies themselves offended?
It sure isn’t an easy subject and nobody should ever feel offended by anything. But how to know where our limits are?


  1. They say that it's easier to fail digitally (because it's cheaper), but what's harder to estimate in hard cash (people's brand perception) probably has a greater impact, unfortunately. And thanks to the interwebz this will never be forgotten.


  2. It's hard sometimes to draw the limit of the acceptable and non-acceptable stereotypes, especially when you come from another culture.
    It's understandable from the point of view that we all do advertising concepts based on stereotypes, cause that's a easier way to classify people and appeal to a special group. What we should always remember is that fine line between them.