For the beef industry, it’s not payback time

Kfc_logoNow that the U.S. is on avian flu watch, it brings to mind ads that Yum Brands’ KFC (aka Kentucky Fried Chicken) brought to market two years ago promoting fried chicken as a healthy alternative to beef. KFC eventually pulled the ads after the Federal Trade Commission said the fast food chain had lied about the health benefits of its food, and now, in the wake of avian flu fear, the chain said this week it has a couple of spots ready to go to reassure the public that the chicken at its restaurants is safe. Now that the shoe is on the other foot, will the beef industry try to exploit the bird flu woes to its advantage? The National Cattlemen’s Industry Beef Association Web site has a story from the Associated Press on its site about how the poultry industry’s exports are getting hammered as a result of the disease. But the industry group is not planning and does not advocate ads or other marketing efforts to play on people’s fears about the safety of the nation’s food supply, an NCBA spokesman said: "I don’t think you’re going to see any kind of advertising from the beef industry exploiting that kind of emotion." But he stressed that he couldn’t speak for every food marketer with a beef product to sell. (And maybe an axe to grind with KFC).

—Posted by Steve McClellan