Just two weeks ago I wrote another post about ads that use gratuitous references to vulgar language and topics generally thought inappropriate public discourse. All the links to past essays on the topic are there.
KFC thinks “fuck” is an acceptable word to evoke in the marketplace while apologizing for running out of chicken in the UK.
Good to know. I think it should now apologize for running out of civility and tastefulness in the United States.
Make your mental list of ethical corporate citizens accordingly.
18 thoughts on “Res Ipsa Loquitur: KFC’s Apology Ad”
Another brick is falling out of the ethical and moral wall. Cultural rot has now spread to the marketplace.
I’m less bothered by this than their creepy commercials in which actors bring the Colonel back from the dead.
Now is the time to note again that I once met Col. Sanders at the Kennedy Center. We were at adjacent urinals. It’s true.
My grandfather, before he passed, had a similar story involving an elevator and Johnny Cash. He wouldn’t have been star struck by many famous persons, but Mr. Cash was an exception. I think he even got an autograph.
The apology is being largely praised as brilliant crisis management. There will be more of the same and worse.
My initial thought was that this was a fake prank ad, because no responsible company would be that vulgar.
Then, Google showed me some headlines:
Best Sorry Note Ever.
And, I realized, the culture war has been won by the barbarians.
I would truly love to be able to see the reaction of the real Colonel, whom I also met, to this. According to what I’ve read, his temper could be volcanic when he was dissatisfied with how one of the stores was being run.
I’m pretty sure the move to “”KFC” would have angered him, never mind “FCK”…
There isn’t anything unethical about profanity.
Incivility, disrespectful. Respect is a core ethical value. Why would you say such a thing? It’s obviously wrong, unless you are accustomed to using “fuck” in professional and social settings without restraint. I doubt that.
Social settings? Abso-fucking-lutely. Professional settings? No, but I work at a school. Would I make a joke that implied the F word there? Maybe. Depends on the joke.
What’s wrong with profanity in professional settings?
What’s wrong with profanity in front of children?
Most specifically, what makes profanity wrong in those settings that doesn’t also make it wrong in any other setting?
I think profanity is unethical. But the flip side argument is this: it’s unethical because it is disrespectful, but it’s disrespectful because historically our culture says it’s disrespectful. Is mere inherited convention sufficient here…especially since it seems there’s a revolutionary movement to undermine many inherited conventions (this being one). And this is one where I’m hard pressed to describe why certain words are considered profane and rude without relying on what will inevitably appear to be a religious argument or an argument that appeals to ancient protections around sex and and ancient considerations of “cleanness and uncleanness”?
“There isn’t anything unethical about profanity… Social settings? Abso-fucking-lutely. Professional settings? No, but I work at a school. Would I make a joke that implied the F word there? Maybe. Depends on the joke.”
“Nothing justifies profanity.” -Stonewall Jackson (which, disregard him for fighting for the South all you want, I actually like the absolutism of this view on profanity)
Though I wonder if Stonewall Jackson would carve out an exception for kicking the corner of the bed with your pinky-toe in the middle of the night…
“The funny bone exception”
Do you think the clothing company FCK can sue KFC for copyright enfringement?
I bet they could, but they probably view this as free advertising.