KFC is going for the kill (supposedly)

25 08 2009

This is what I call marketing savvy. KFC is attempting to take a common Blackjack term — doubling down — and apply it to a sandwich. My interpretation is they’re targeting this sandwich of bliss at the same type of audience who typically go on gambling trips with buddies to Vegas and Atlantic City — dudes, preferably in their 20s. (And teens, too, who enjoy pigging out on terrifically crummy food but who don’t usually play card games.)

I read this blog on thegrio.com asking if KFC is trying to kill people by rolling out the Double Down — basically a cheese and bacon sandwich encased between two pieces of fried chicken. Call KFC what you want, but you have to admit this is their best version of the Atkins diet.

I’m sure KFC’s intent isn’t actually to kill us, just as Obama’s intent isn’t to line people up against a wall and extract death upon them all (despite what some feisty Republicans claim). No, I believe KFC’s intent is to offer guys the perfect snack for the upcoming football season. Guys like melted cheese, they enjoy chicken and they really love bacon. Bread is a throwaway. It can be consumed in so many different ways that removing it from one type of snack or meal won’t make a difference. Remember that guys, especially in their 20s, have short memories.

Anyway, my big concern here is that people want to put up a fight against KFC for this sandwich. They claim KFC is setting a bad example for our country’s dietary issues. Guess what naysayers, companies like KFC churn out these menu options because they have fairly good evidence that people will buy their stuff. KFC, being a manufacturer of fried chicken, isn’t supposed to be the guiding light for healthy eating in the first place.

What I figure would happen is KFC test markets the sandwich. If it’s successful, then they consider rolling it out on a national platform, if they haven’t already. (I’ve eaten at the joint once, so I don’t know their latest menu options.) And if it’s successful nationally, then they keep it. But they’re not going to keep it on the menu for long if it’s NOT successful. Rather, they’ll adjust the contents of the sandwich or scrap it to create a something else that they think will sell.

However, the onus shouldn’t be on KFC to guard against health concerns by dismissing sandwiches like the Double Down. They’re a business, so they need to make money. If they want to exploit Americans’ general weakness for unhealthy, unsophisticated food, then so be it. But we, as consumers, have the ability to force KFC to axe the Double Down. And it’s not by writing blogs protesting it, and by fictitiously telling others that KFC is looking to kill them. It’s by simply not buying the damn sandwich. If it’s such an “offensive” piece of food, as the thegrio.com blog put it, then people will choose to spend their money on a different plate of KFC food or just go to a different eatery altogether.

If we are to battle weight loss in this country, then people should toughen up and realize which food choices are good, which are bad and which are acceptable only in small doses. But abhoring company’s decisions to offer fairly creative menu options for the sake of boosting their revenue is totally unrealistic. We, the consumers, have the choice, even if companies introduce a sandwiches which can probably guarantee heart disease if consumed every day. Nobody is holding a gun to our head to buy this crap. It’s our choice, for better or worse. As it should be.




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