KFC and the C Stands for Cool

Just when I thought I had life all figured out, a fast food chicken related dilemma has reared its scrawny head.

It seems that KFC - aka Kentucky Fried Chicken, aka arch enemy of animal rights organizations, aka sellers of bucket-o-heart disease, aka the Thing That Makes Kentucky Marginally Better Known Than Tennessee - has joined the ranks of the cool people.

They’re hip. They’re with it. And they are most definitely the bomb.

A press release is wending its way through the Internet that says this: A KFC marketing person sent a letter to Stephen Colbert inviting him to The White House, the name of the KFC headquarters and home of the company president’s office, to be President for a Day. 

KFC marketing people proved their hip-worthiness by knowing that Comedy Central funny guy Colbert had lost a bid to get on a presidential primary ballot – any presidential primary ballot – for the 2008 election. And they knew enough about him that he could take the fact that KFC HQ is in a building called The White House in Louisville, Kentucky, and make enough jokes out of it to fill a 4-minute sketch.

So I guess we can’t really hate KFC anymore . . . can we? I’m so confused I could drink a tumbler of trans fat right now.

We used to know clearly who the bad guys were: KFC, Walmart and Starbucks. They were the bourgeoisie, the evil empires, and – yes, I’m gonna say it - The Man. 

Starbucks started wrapping its coffee in plain brown paper with little recycled specks, playing jazz music and promoting books about minority spelling bee champions, so they rose in the ranks, perhaps even out of evil world domination status altogether. 

Walmart continues to struggle in politically incorrect Squaresville and just when it tries to market itself out of its depths of despair, someone comes up with an allegation, like they’re not paying their employees with real money. It can’t be long before that little smiley face is going to bounce right out the big double doors on the tails of a blue smock at the end of a not-quite full-time shift.

Walmart could take some tips from KFC. Perhaps they could invite Sexual Harassment Panda to come speak to those in the head office. Maybe invite SNL to film its next discount store parody skit right in front of the gun counter. Or one of the Walton heirs could load up the pickup and drive to New York to make a guest appearance on The Daily Show. 

We know these things would work. Because marketing execs have decided that cool people (that is, anyone in their 20s and anyone who watches TV past 10 p.m.) can make or break you. KFC apparently decided it would rather have that demographic laughing at them on TV (or should I saw laughing with them right before they dig into a bucket of wings) than picketing their stores with signs listing unspeakable and unappetizing acts they’re performing on live poultry. 

Hardees, with its commercials full of piggish guys cheating on their girlfriends, working in construction and chewing with their mouths open, has made it clear whose money it’s going after. They don’t care that I, a middle class mom, have vowed to never set foot in a Hardees and have used the guys in their commercials as examples of who my daughter is not allowed to date.

Good luck, KFC. You’ll know you’ve succeeded when the teenage PETA guy out front takes off his chicken suit, lays down his picket sign and orders a bucket of Extra Crispy.