13 October 2010

KFC pastes its Double Down Ad on More Students' Butts

USA Today

KFC is doubling down on its promo across college coeds' backsides. The world's largest chicken chain is putting yet more college women — at three more universities — into sweatpants with "Double Down" emblazoned across their rear ends.

Double Down is KFC's new male-targeted sandwich that uses chicken patties as buns.

KFC's newest Double Down "ambassadors," found through a competition on its Facebook page, will be paid $500 each to wear the pants and hand out $5 KFC coupons for a day at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colo.; Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind.; and James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va.

The move follows stinging criticism last month after KFC first rolled out the provocative promo at Spalding University in Louisville. Even before it begins later this week, the expansion of the promo is drumming up additional criticism.

"It's hideous," says Terry O'Neill, president of the National Organization for Women. "This is 12-year-old boy humor."

Brand guru Steven Addis says the promo may be reprehensible, but it's not necessarily stupid. "Whether intended or not, KFC is becoming the Hooters of fast food."

KFC received 600 applications for the new jobs on its Facebook page, spokeswoman Laurie Schalow says. The women were picked for their experience, not their looks, she says. Two of the women have done beer company promos.

One is Sara Coleman, a 21-year-old senior at Colorado State, who majors in criminal justice. She says she already does promos for Anheuser-Busch and heard about the KFC promo from her mom.

Coleman has no problems with the outfit. "There are worse things that sweatpants could say," says Coleman, who hopes to use the money to go to Las Vegas.

She and two friends will pass out the coupons at CSU's homecoming football game Saturday. "There will be girls in a lot less clothing at the game. We're just wearing something we'd wear to bed."

Her school's officials are OK with the promo. "We support the right of local and national businesses to distribute information about their products and services to our campus community," says Mike Ellis, assistant vice president for student affairs.

Chris Muller, Boston University hospitality school dean, thinks the promo will be a hit, but doesn't like it. "In college life, women are supposed to be highly sexed and men are supposed to be very hungry. Someone said: 'Let's put them together.' "

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