Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Colonel Sanders' International Incident

One absent-minded United Nations security guard may have unwittingly helped coordinate one of the most outrageous and concerning marketing stunts of this year. Colonel Sanders, mustachioed (and deceased) spokesperson for chicken-enthusiast restaurant KFC, was pictured shaking hands with President of the General Assembly Dr. Ali A. Treki inside a secure UN diplomat lounge.

The guard mistook Sanders for a diplomat and led him inside secure United Nations areas.

The event has set off metaphorical alarms about the state of security inside the UN’s New York headquarters, with statements from the Secretary General’s spokesperson, among others, addressing the breach.

Sanders was in the building following up on a letter that KFC had sent the UN, asking that the “Grilled Nation” be named the 193rd member state of the United Nations. It was a small publicity stunt that has grown to become something far bigger: an international incident.

This event and the resulting publicity has certainly pushed the boundaries for marketing stunts. Viral videos and riské iPhone apps are so 2008. Next up: Hamburgler breaks Ottawa City Hall and declares himself Councillor for Ward 24 -- McNuggetsville.

No word yet on whether the United Nations security guard will be fired, or gain a lifetime supply of grilled chicken, for his or her actions.