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.