KFC wants to prove it doesn’t take the easy path. So it decided to invent a device that’s just shy of useless—namely, a cassette tape that offers driving directions.
On what the brand describes as the world’s “first-ever GPS cassette,” pre-recorded audio of Colonel Sanders tells listeners how to drive from Louisville, Kentucky, where KFC’s headquarters are located, to Marietta, Georgia, where its famous Big Chicken franchise, featuring an animatronic chicken that’s 56 feet tall, lives.
Promising excessive detail and rambling tangents from the brand’s founder (or whoever is voicing him today), plus road-trip sing-alongs, the tape is all about taking the scenic route, and include stops in places it deems significant to its regional flavors, like “Nashville Hot”—as well as its original recipe (because KFC does have to plug its food after all, even if the gag itself is way more fun than any attempts to pepper it with substance).
No cassette deck? No problem. Listen to the tape on YouTube:
The press release itself is a lovely bit of satire, seizing on the jargon of the breathless tech zeitgeist in declaring the tape to be a disruption of navigation technology, while also praising the fidelity of cassette tapes (notoriously bad), and promising to save listeners from the scourge of distracting on-screen directions or “unrelenting interruptions by artificially intelligent direction apps.”
It’s also a charmingly snarky answer to the more earnest (if still playful) innovations from some other fast-food marketers—like the Domino’s Tracker, and its IFTTT extension, and its zero-click ordering, and drone delivery, the likes of which seem driven primarily by the laziness of consumers, as opposed to KFC’s apparent desire to waste as much of your time as possible with a fun fried-chicken-themed adventure.
A video promoting the cassette, meanwhile, is equally awkward and standoffish.
“You might be saying to yourself ‘I don’t understand—that’s not possible,” says the voiceover. “Well it’s possible that you’re wrong,” it continues, before ultimately suggesting the tape will help you get “wherever you go … to some destinations Colonel Sanders recorded on a tape. Because that’s the only way this could work.”
Now, do they have an audio version of the KFC romance novel on cassette?