A Finger Lickin' Bad TV Commercial

Have you seen the latest KFC commercial? It's goes like this:

Two guys are talking while standing in front of a vending machine. One has a dollar bill in his hand, the other has a mini chicken sandwich from - you guessed it - KFC!

Progress: A Working Bill Acceptor

As the sandwich holder speaks to the virtues of his chicken sandwich, the buddy inserts his dollar into the vending machine's bill acceptor. In this case, the bill acceptor works!

So far, so good. Commercials portraying vending machines haven't always been so favorable. But we're just getting started.

Now comes the voice-over expounding on the 99 cent KFC snack-size chicken sandwich, along with luscious photos depicting the snacking goody in a way that makes it look three times larger than life.

Of course it's hot, fresh and healthy, too, says the voice! This all convinces the buddy to go to KFC, but gosh, before he can grab his dollar from the insidious vending machine - the bill vanishes into the bill acceptor. No snack size chicken sandwich for him. His dollar is lost. He is a broken man!

Not Vending Bashing, But?

Another bash at vending? Maybe not, let's take a look at a couple of points from a different point of view.

The bill acceptor took the one dollar bill. Smoothly and quickly, the bill disappeared into the machine.

The usual slap stick application here would be the bill acceptor refusing to take the bill, spitting it out while grinding and whirring noises played in the background. Not this machine.

Confidently and quietly, the bill was accepted as payment. We're making progress, don't you think?

But not enough progress. The commercial portrays KFC chicken as a preferable alternative to what's in a vending machine. Anyone intimately familiar with the content of vending fare knows this is not always, if ever, true.

A Distortion Of The Truth Nonetheless

Positioning batter-coated, deep-fried chicken as a healthy alternative got KFC in trouble once before. The company was forced to pull their television ads that claimed fried chicken was low in carbohydrates and therefore part of a healthy diet.

They conveniently forgot that part about cholesterol and fat levels that went through the roof, not to mention the breading that just oozes carbs! Slap that on a white bread bun with mayo - be still my heart! Literally!

The price point was one dollar. This commercial equated purchasing a snack priced at one dollar at a fast food restaurant to purchasing a snack from the vending machine.

They were trying to say they offer superior product at a better price. In other words, a better value.

The Commercial Didn't Succeed

No one expects commercials to be completely honest. But the message being sent here was blatantly at odds with the facts. Few retail channels offer consumers a better value for their dollar than vending.

Commercials such as this may try to position vended snacks as inferior to fast food, but, subliminally, this one failed. And if it failed subliminally, it failed, period.

Mark this one in the "win" column for us.