I love me some weird promotional tie in items. I am always fascinated and amazed when TV shows or movies have weird promotional tie-in’s or product placements that they force feed into scenes. Most of the time these are just subtle scenes of people drinking a Coke at a restaurant. But sometimes we get a gift when subtlety is thrown to the wind and we get an insane commercial / propaganda piece detached from all reality. One of my favorite examples of late is the music video for the song Pretty Girls by the Legendary Ms. Britney Spears and Iggy Azalea.
Obviously Samsung is paying for this video by the amount of camera time is spent on the Galaxy S6 phones but at the 2:17 mark the music pauses and it literally becomes a commercial for the phone. Even for a video where the two leads are playing as aliens this is the most jarring and unrealistic thing that happens in the video.
This brings us to KFC Presents: The Colonel of Two Worlds Starring the Flash and Colonel Sanders, which I will refer to as KFCP: TCOTW (STFACS) for short. KFCP: TCOTW (STFACS) is the perfect storm of every thing I love about weird promotional tie ins. Does it have a fourth wall breaking moment where it simply becomes a commercial? Check. Does it misunderstand how people fundamentally view their product? Check. Is it unashamed at how ridiculous it is? Check. True believers this comic is fantastic and available for free at Comixology right here.
Let’s start by breaking down the plot of this bad boy. It starts with the Mirror Master and Captain Cold teaming up with the evil Earth 3 version of Colonel Sanders, Colonel Sunders. They then become fast food employees at Colonel Sunders “Easy Fried Chicken”, which is suppose to be the opposite of KFC. The next step It is unclear but I assume Colonel Sunders used his Easy Fried Chicken money to hire henchmen in order to start committing bank robberies and other larger money making crimes. The Flash and Green Lantern discover a spike in crime occurs whenever an Easy Fried Chicken opens. The real Colonel Sanders is super pissed off that this imposter is using his likeness to sell below par chicken and steps in. A fight ensues and a victorious Colonel Sanders sends the imposter Colonel Sunder back to Earth 3. The comic ends with the Cononel convincing the Flash to allow him hire Captain Cold and Mirror Master at KFC rather than throwing them back in jail.
Let’s start with one of my favorite parts of these weird product tie-ins and that is when it jarringly switches to commercial mode. The whole thing is a commercial in and of it self and does it’s job simply through brand recognition alone. But KFC just can’t trust us the reader to simply pick that up and has to break the 4th wall to talk about the 11 secret herbs and spices. Dear KFC, we get it. You are a major brand, every one knows who you are and generally what you serve. Breaking the fourth wall doesn’t convey that, all it does it show how insecure you are about your product.
Another favorite of mine is when companies fundamentally don’t understand how consumers see their products. A great example of this is the Bank of America “One Bank” song it created when it merged with MBNA (here is a cover of that by David Cross). While this was probably a huge deal for Bank of America it’s customers could really give two shits. Their accounts stayed the same, their cards stayed the same, it was just a shuffling around of management. But because it so big internally Bank of America couldn’t see outside the bubble that the outside world really didn’t care. This occurred in KFCP: TCOTW (STFACS) with the concept of “Easy Fried Chicken”. I’m sure the marketing department thought, “Hey what do people love about our chicken? Oh I know, it’s how we make it the hard way”. This is in fact is not what people think about KFC. We are buying your food because its easy, pretty good, and cheap. If anything the bizarro KFC of “Easy Fried Chicken” is actually what we think of when we think of KFC.
I’m not here to shit talk KFCP: TCOTW (STFACS) though. I actually quite enjoyed KFCP: TCOTW (STFACS) and found my self laughing out loud when Colonel Sunder used a pink slime gun to fight Colonel Sanders.
The art throughout the comic was actually top quality which not the norm for projects like this. The shot of the Flash coming into frame could have easily been mistaken from a shot from the ongoing Justice League or Flash solo comic. In general KFCP: TCOTW (STFACS) was fun, actually funny, and free. Hopefully we get some more weird stuff like this in the future (I’m looking at you Old Spice).