Intellectual property violations, imitation as flattery, and the PR in between
“There’s only one Colonel in Chicken Town.” This is how a narrator wraps up a new, much-talked about ad for KFC UK, in which Colonel Sanders styled like the Godfather, accompanied by the film’s famous theme, drives through tough streets teeming with fake KFCs. Instead of taking on the copycats directly, he awes them simply by fearlessly cruising through their neighborhood on his way to the real KFC. There he gets down to work, making the fried chicken that the brand is renowned for. It’s a clear message that the original master still has the most street cred.
Pirates of the Information Age
Intellectual Property (IP) and other violations regarding logos, films, songs, secret recipes and other creations can cause significant financial loss. Pirates have gone mainstream on platforms like YouTube, aided by technology that is complicit in diminishing the original work of creators. Grey areas have sprouted up everywhere online and elsewhere in regards to whom should profit from what ideas and products and to what extent, in a culture in which IP sharing has been normalized.
Amplified with intention
The KFC commercial’s message is thematically integrated into posters featuring the logos of the imitators, with similar all-caps lettering reminiscent of KFC, but instead declaring DFC, RFC, LFC, etc. KFC signs off at the bottom of the posters with “Guys, we’re flattered”, taking stock of the situation and spinning a negative into a positive with a classic comeback. Taking on any issue with the style and poise of a grand master creates a lasting impression – especially if you’re iconic enough to back it up.
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