Things happen. Nobody is perfect.
But let’s be very clear: there is no excuse – none – for a fast food chain to use a notorious Nazi episode as a “treat” promotion.
This is, surprisingly, where KFC is located.
The fried chicken heavyweight is apologizing for sending a mobile app alert to customers in Germany inviting them to share tasty dishes while commemorating Kristallnacht.
For those who may not know, Kristallnacht was an infamous act of violence against Jews in November 1938. It means “night of broken glass,” a reference to the many Jewish-owned storefronts that were smashed by thugs Nazis.
Some historians say that Kristallnacht marked the beginning of the Holocaust.
On Wednesday, KFC sent out a notification to app users saying, “It’s Kristallnacht Remembrance Day! Enjoy softer cheese on your crispy chicken. Now at KFCheese!
The injustice of this needs no help from me. It would be funny if it weren’t so incredibly offensive and stupid.
KFC, owned by Yum Brands, said its Kristallnacht promotion contained “a manifestly unintended, insensitive and unacceptable message”.
“We understand and respect the gravity and history of this day, and remain committed to fairness, inclusion and belonging for all,” the channel said in a statement.
Notwithstanding any evidence to the contrary.
KFC blamed an automated system that links national celebrations to corporate promotions. He said internal review processes were not followed.
Again, things are happening.
But there is no excuse for that.
Businesses use automated systems to streamline operations and save money. But just because the bots are on the payroll doesn’t mean the company is held responsible for what the bots do.
As the saying goes, companies are people – and people are ultimately responsible for all aspects of a company’s performance.
That something as insane as this could happen serves as a warning to any companies that (mistakenly) think they can cut corners by letting the algorithms do the heavy lifting.
Blindly trusting automation is a surefire route to glitches and embarrassment. If nothing else, the takeaway here is that nothing – nothing — should never be communicated to customers without a human being having the final say.
It’s one thing to gently declare that you are “committed to equity, inclusion and belonging for all”.
It’s another to prove it.
Suggest a fix