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PETA’s P.R. Stunt Won’t Hurt KFC

March 30th, 2009 by admin · 7 Comments

From the department of manufactured news, you may have noticed last week that KFC got a whole lot of mileage from its pledge to spend $3,000 to fix 350 potholes in the city. The catch was that the chicken company got to stencil an ad atop every fixed pothole.

The P.R. stunt was well worth the money. The story got picked up everywhere, and Mayor Jerry Abramson was chosen to do a three-minute interview on NPR about it. Newspapers in Chicago and Boston (how’s that for your local branding campaign) were filled with stories about the KFC program to fix Louisville potholes.

Seeing that a good thing can be duplicated, KFC’s P.R. crew launched a plan to award the same service to four other cities, and will announce those winners later this week. That’ll surely generate more cheap publicity in the cities KFC chooses. I’m guessing David Novak is busy awarding rubber chickens to his crew’s P.R. staff.

Just when you thought the story couldn’t get any more legs, along comes KFC arch-nemesis PETA with a plan to jump on the publicity bandwagon.  PETA sent a letter to the Mayor today, saying it wants to pay the city $6,000 for the right to stencil the words “KFC Tortures Animals.” Here’s how the letter, from PETA exec Tracy Reiman, starts:

I am writing on behalf of PETA and our more than 2 million members and supporters–including thousands in the Louisville area–to offer the city twice the amount of money that KFC has paid to place ads for its cruelly produced products on repaired potholes if you will use our funds to stencil “Kentucky Fried Cruelty” artwork (see attached) on the potholes instead. Motorists and pedestrians should know that there is a mile-long record of cruelty to animals behind KFC’s business interests.

The Mayor’s Office, not surprisingly, would love to have another $6K for pothole repair, but spokesman Chris Poynter said it wasn’t going for PETA’s deal as is.

“If they want to put the word PETA on top of the potholes, we’d love to talk to them, but not for what they’re saying they want to do,” he said.

The images on the potholes, at least for KFC, aren’t the point. In fact, Poynter said the chalk might last less than a day and the corporation did not, in fact, put the chalk message on every pothole. It was simply a very successful public relations stunt.

PETA’s attempt to capitalize on it, however, won’t get the same treatment.

Tags: Awards · Branding · Jerry Abramson · Possibility City · Public Relations · Radio

7 responses so far ↓

  • 1 David // Mar 30, 2009 at 7:43 pm

    Maybe then KFC could pay to have another set of pot holes filled that read petakillsanimals.com, this would be a great way to promote the hypocrisy that is PETA. So much is made of KFC while PETA is no better and quite frankly worse.

  • 2 KYGuy // Mar 30, 2009 at 9:41 pm

    I don’t care who stencils the repair. It sounds like a good idea to get public projects done. “The “Meijer Official Storm Debris Pickup.” I’ve always expected for someone to put an add on the external fuel tank of the space shuttle. I used to laugh about such things…but it seems plausible now. We have adds on Tarc buses. Why not garbage trucks and police cruisers?

  • 3 Carter Burger // Mar 31, 2009 at 8:27 am

    You’d think Mayor-for-life would be a bit embaressed by all this. A private company offering to fix the potholes in his city.

  • 4 john // Mar 31, 2009 at 9:37 am

    While PETA’s cause might be noble, it seems pretty clear at this point that their KFC campaign is, at best, ineffective.

  • 5 btucker // Mar 31, 2009 at 7:11 pm

    I agree with Carter B. The mayor used to pride himself on the “rapid response” the city had to filling potholes. Letting a fast-food place pay for it seems embarrassing.

  • 6 Jim // Apr 1, 2009 at 1:39 am

    For Mayor Jerry errr King Jerry nothing is embarrassing anymore. Not after the housing scandals, the Cordish scandals, and Centre City and the arena project. Just more puff and fluff from our esteemed mayor. Meanwhile local unemployment is 9 percent and the infrastructure of the city is declining rapidly. Thousands of potholes.

    The Outer Loop is getting bad and needs resurfacing but I am sure that our esteemed mayor has more important aims such as building more projects downtown and trying to appear as the suave and intelligent mayor of the 16th largest city or is it 26th.

    Another of the lies of Jerry Abramson. We can do so much better and by next election we really will need to with unemployment probably above 10 percent if not higher. Shame on you, Mr. Mayor for ignoring the concerns of this community for so many years.

  • 7 Jim // Apr 1, 2009 at 1:45 am

    Besides I would also like to know with Derby being 4 weeks away if they are going to finally get all of the storm debris off roads around the whole city. It is still parked in so many places and where is Ted Pullen? Is he hiding out at HQ trying to see where his next job posting is at? Or is he and Jerry schmoozing trying to figure out what to do about the roads around here that are falling into disrepair all over the city. I’ve been traveling many of the main streets and avenues and so many places need attention. Not just downtown on in the west end but in the South End, Outer Loop, Greenbelt area, Old Shepherdsville Road, and so many other places. Its an embarrassment for a city this size not to be able to fix its streets.

    I have been all over the city in the last 4 weeks and I’ve never seen the condition of the roads this bad nor have I ever seen the piles of debris alongside the road for over 2 months now. No pickup, no completion of the job, etc. Its a shame this city is going downhill because of people like Jerry. Its totally uncalled for and totally incompetent.

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