Shame On Taco Bell and KFC

This morning I read AdAge's article about Taco Bell's stupidity - 50 Cent Sues Taco Bell Over Value-Menu Stunt - and could not believe a company would risk such damage to their brand by offending an entire race of people in an effort to market to them.

Instead of approaching 50 Cent for a promotion, Taco Bell went around him by sending a letter to the press asking 50 Cent to change his name to "79 cent" and other prices in the new value menu and offering $10,000 to a charity of his choice if he could rap his order at a Taco Bell.

50 Cent makes tens of millions per year and could donate far more money than that to a charity (and probably has), but the real issues are that it proves that America has not come that far, just like CNN's recent Black In America series showed.

These executives, who are probably White, thought that it would be smart to encourage a Black man to demean himself for their benefit. This is not the days of minstrels and black face.

To add insult to injury, Black women in America make up the largest percentage of obese women of all races and heart disease and diabetes are among the top killers of Black people in America.

Using a famous Black man that many women gravitate to in order to promote unhealthy fast food is not exactly socially responsible or smart. The CNN special also quite rightly pointed out that in most inner cities, a popular location for fast food restaurants, it is easier to find a gun than a fresh tomato.

This stupidity is no surprise because the article points out how KFC, also owned by Yum Brands, had made an offer for a player or entertainer to flap "his or her wings" in the endzone during the Super Bowl.

Are these people serious? This is what happens when you have too much money, you think that you can pay people to embarass themselves for their benefit.

Smart companies protect their brand and do due diligence. If Taco Bell had done any focus group testing with their target market, they would have quickly found out that Black people would not take kindly to this promotion. They are targeting Black people with the whole rap promotion and yet seek to embarass a Black multimillionaire without even first asking him.

I hope 50 Cent wins and teaches Corporate America that they are out of touch and condescending to people.

I look at America as an outsider, a Jamaican who grew up not seeing race, and this just makes me sad because we are approaching 45 years since Martin Luther King's 'I Have A Dream speech' yet so many powerful people are so backward.

Just watch for the boycott calls.

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  • David Mullings

    Thank you for the comment Carel.
    I make no error because I am neither part of the "majority culture" - I am a Jamaican - and for years I have asked White Americans how comes they don't complain about the grossly racist mascots such as the Red Indian in baseball.
    I have always sided with the true Americans who were brutally killed and oppressed, and still continue to be treated as second-class citizens in their own home country.
    I also bring up the history lesson when Americans complain about immigration but the attitude I get makes it clear that they do not like the history lesson.

  • Carel Two-Eagle

    Your rant is good, but you make the same error so many in the majority culture do - assuming that the only 'real' Americans are white. As for the ridiculous offer by Taco Bell.. it's about the same as using us Indns as mascots. And in that, the football leagues have plenty of black players, so they aren't immune in demeaning others. A "mascot" is defined as "a pet; a caricature". A person might make a caricature about me with impunity; but to do so to an entire race of people is untenable. As for "pet" - anyone who knows me knows that this "pet" Indn has a sharp attitude and talons. My elders didn't name me Two Eagles for nuthin'... And I'm definitely not the only one. You truly hit the nail squarely on the thumb when you said "Corporate America is out of touch and condescending to people". Absolutely. Worse, they're proud of their ignorance. If they weren't, they'd get busy and learn about the real world, not just their tiny corner of it.