Mr. Jonathan D. Blum
Senior Vice President, Public Affairs
Yum Brands International
1441 Gardiner Lane
Louisville, KY 40213
Dear Mr. Blum:
Your new ad is tearing my brain apart.
I'm referring to the spot where two older African-American gentlemen lecture a stoop full of younger African-Americans about how their youth lacked DVDs, MP3s and other entertainment technology acronyms.
The young men remain unfazed until the old fellows mention that they had no KFC. Gasps of shock and horror. America without KFC? Is this possible? Oh, but the joke is on us when the codgers explain that back in the day, KFC was called Kentucky Fried Chicken.
Guffaws ensue, as does intergenerational bonding over a bucket of wings.
What's weird is that this isn't the weird part. That comes next, when the image of the KFC Colonel -- a man who'd fit right in at a Trent Lott fund-raiser -- appears, to the soundtrack of Lynyrd Skynyrd's Sweet Home Alabama.
Let me get this straight: To court an urban African-American demographic, you chose Skynyrd? A band whose most famous ballad is a love song to George Wallace's favorite apartheid state? Come on! What's next? Richard Wagner to sell Matzo?
Please understand, I'm in no way charging you with racism. Just balls-out, jaw-dropping, pee-in-your-pants stupidity.
I think you have some explaining to do. And I look forward to it.
Kenneth Cleaver Read the Response.