18 November 2007

the artery clogging sound track

From UK Guardian music blog

The KFC Hitmaker: Knowing Foul Cynicism

KFC is 'giving back' to its consumer fanbase by releasing an album. This is more than a gimmicky publicity stunt - it's downright dangerous

James Donaghy

November 16, 2007 4:00 PM

A Pizza Hut! A Pizza Hut! Kentucky Fried Chicken and a Pizza Hut! Photograph: Getty

We know how KFC likes to take the definition of soul food literally. Marlena Shaw wasn't complaining about the royalty cheque when they adopted California Soul in one of their adverts and they have aggressively targeted the black community in their recent campaigns. Their latest scheme should give everyone pause for thought, though.

They have released an album, available for download here, that's a compilation of the best entrants from their Pride 360° competition, a scheme they ran in the summer to unearth musical talent as part of Black Music Month.

Intriguingly, the aspiring urban artists were instructed to record a song creatively incorporating the words "individual", "family", "community", "heritage" with KFC, the winner getting a recording opportunity and some publicity. Hip-hop blogger Byron Crawford comments on the irony of an album featuring "nothing but black people singing about fried chicken". He's got a point.

And it's got to be said that no matter what the winner D Mawl (who hails from Kentucky) does with the rest of his career he will forever be known as The Fried Chicken Guy. While it's a nice idea for KFC to throw a half-gnawed bone back to its black customer base, it's difficult see the exercise as anything other than a gimmicky publicity stunt, and I hope this doesn't set a precedent. Commercial sponsorship of the arts is inevitable - but there have got to be limits. And KFC don't got none.

Robert Cialdini, in his book Influence, identifies association as one of the most powerful and successful principles in advertising and compliance. Weaving those positive concepts ("individual", "family", "community", "heritage") with KFC is an act of breathtaking cynicism and you've almost got to admire the brass balls it takes to pull it off, all the while posing as a benefactor.

So apart from offering patronage to a crappy rapper who's sold out before he's even got a contract, what exactly is KFC promoting in the black community? The high fat, high cholesterol, high sodium KFC diet, of course.

Ebony magazine calls heart disease "the ultimate destroyer in the black community, killing more people than Aids and cancer combined". The American Heart Association concurs.

Hypertension, obesity, clogged arteries and an hour-long commercial masquerading as talent scouting is KFC's legacy to black America. You don't have to be Chuck D to ask "how low can you go?"

And all the tracks are free.

Yeah right. A free gift from KFC - songs about KFC. Just give away free chicken.

It's a good article by the Guardian and the links provided are theirs too.

Today, I cleaned the rest of the house including the bathroom. Aside from that, I did nothing.

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