Research Paper: Fast Food Advertising

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[. . .] "It's time America stops calling a burger and fries dinner." (,1).

KFC has grown to be the most sought-after chicken globally ever since Colonel Sanders mastered his Original Recipe Chicken®, cooked with 11 secret herbs and spices almost fifty years ago. "We use real chicken, hand-breaded fresh from scratch in our restaurants every day, and slow cooked to tender, juicy perfection," adds Bachelder. (,1).KFC has suffered from false adverse publicity in relation to the chicken they use. There was an urban myth circulating that KFC had created a more productive and faster system of populating their chicken farms. The process involved scientifically designing its chickens to be born minus heads so that the bodies could be attached directly to machines for automated feeding in the tiniest amount of space as possible. However, the story goes that the FDA were made aware of their new system and ordered the chicken giant to strike off the term "chicken" in its brand name. But if that is the case, why do the television ads still use the word "chicken"? In reality, the change in name from "Kentucky Fried Chicken" to "KFC" was a marketing ploy meant to deflect observance from the original name's "fried" reference (Passantino & Passantino, 2000, 1).

In order to appreciate successful advertising in the fast food industry, one must also highlight an example of failure. In 2000, Long John Silver, eager to promote the tastiness of their crispy fish, shrimp basket and thick chips, launched their new television commercial in some cities. These ads had prancing dwarves in light-coloured bodysuits. The dwarves, whose outfits were identified by names such as "Shrimp Basket" or "Chicken Plank," were intended to symbolize the "little cravings" people feel for Long John Silver's. (Shalit, 2000, 1).

The ads were aimed at male 25-49-year-old 'frequent food eaters.'

We call them variety seekers," says Rick Stoddard (who oversees the account for Fallon McElligot). "They enjoy different things in life. Different leisure experiences. Different food experiences... We had to find some way to connect with this group of consumers... We wanted to take the idea of 'little cravings' and bring it to life symbolically." (Shalit, 2000, 2). However, the campaign was shelved some franchisees expressed their dislike for it (Shalit, 2000, 2). Also, White Castle had been employing the word 'crave' in their promotional activities for about seven years. Jamie Richardson, director of marketing at White Castle, says, "Throughout our history... we've had legions of cravers who've allowed us to come to our positioning quite naturally. They talk to us about the craving. How nothing else can satisfy the craving for that one-of-a-kind steam-grilled taste." (Shalit, 2000, 2).

Advertising is a key tool for brand positioning for fast food chains. However, while consumers are savvy to what is on offer by the fast food giants, there is something that keeps consumers flocking to their favourite fast food outlets despite negative stories regarding the unhealthy food and duplicitous advertising. Most fast food chains steer clear of referring to their offerings as the 'healthier choice' and prefer to promote their food's convenience, taste and lifestyle inherent in their food patrons. However, even if fast food chains were to actively promote their food as healthy, it is unlikely that the general population will change their attitudes towards fast food due to a combination of apathy and addiction.


Hendricks, Kevin D. (2001) Book Reviews: Fast Food Nation.

KFC® Claims Burger Chains Offer "Taste Blandness" Launches Latest Salvo in Highly Competitive Fast Food Wars.

McDonalds is Getting Sued Again," Hypocrisy Today.

McTasty? McDonalds Arouses More Emotional Responses Than Your Average Multi-national. But Why?

Passantino, Bob & Passantino, Gretchen. (2000) "One of the Latest Urban Myths," Answers in Action.

Schlosser, Eric (2001) Fast Food Nation: What's the all-American Meal is Doing to the World. UK: Allen Lane The Penguin Press.

Shalit, Ruth (2000) Buying Short: Why Prancing Dwarves Didn't Fly for Long John Silver's.

The Complete Review: Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser.

Appendix I


Appendix II


Appendix III


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APA Format

Fast Food Advertising.  (2002, March 1).  Retrieved July 19, 2019, from

MLA Format

"Fast Food Advertising."  1 March 2002.  Web.  19 July 2019. <>.

Chicago Format

"Fast Food Advertising."  March 1, 2002.  Accessed July 19, 2019.