Thursday, February 03, 2011

Yum! Brands Yanks President Obama KFC Fish Sandwich Advertising Campaign

"No disrespect was intended," Company spokesman says...
Yum! Brands, the global fast food corporation that owns KFC, has announced that it has ended a video ad campaign that was running in its Asian market, which featured a look- and sound-alike of President Obama touting KFC's new Soft Roll Fish Fillet sandwich. The company maintains the campaign was intended as "a spoof." (Above: A screengrab from the video ad campaign, featuring "President Obama")

The ad campaign was complete with the President's "change" election campaign slogan being put to use as a tagline: "Mmmm, change is good!," the faux President Obama said onscreen in two different versions of the ad, his mouth stuffed with the sandwich. He was also back dropped by a flag with the word "change" on it. A huge sandwich drops on the President during the video.

"It is no longer airing and will not be re-aired,” Yum! Brands spokesman Ben Golden said of the ad campaign, via e-mail. “It was meant to be a spoof and no disrespect was intended."

ObFo's post on Monday about the campaign created global headlines, and the media coverage boosted the views of one of the video ads on YouTube from 305 on Monday to 65,940 as of this writing. Golden declined to explain exactly why the ads, which started to air in the first week of January, were yanked on Tuesday, but the statement that "no disrespect was intended" implies that the Louisville, Kentucky-based Yum! is well aware it had gone into tricky territory. And the sandwich slamming the presidential look-alike? Ouch.

There have been hundreds of food and beverage items named for President Obama since he hit the national stage in 2007, but a huge fast food corporation using his image in an ad campaign to promote a food item is a different kind of pie, so to speak. Yum! is the largest fast food purveyor in Asia. The much-viewed video:

Golden did say that the videos were created specifically for the Hong Kong market, and aired only in Hong Kong. In a second longer version of the ad, the President was shown at a "campaign rally" for the sandwich, complete with American-flag waving fans holding signs that read "change." The faux president also repeated the Mmmm phrase, adding "Change--not only for America but for the whole world. Not only for your Mom, but for you, for your stomach, for a better taste!" The second video jumped from about 300 YouTube views to more than 8,600:

The Soft Roll Fish Fillet sandwiches are being sold in thousands of outlets.