This Kentucky Derby will be positively Yum!my

I’ve never really been under the impression that there was some ineffable cosmic connection between Taco Bell and the Kentucky Derby, but I could be wrong. Yum! Brands, the Louisville, Ky.-based company that owns Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Long John Silver’s, A&W Restaurants and the ever-so-synergistic KFC, is launching its first corporate campaign on the Derby this Saturday as part of its deal to be the race’s first-ever presenting sponsor, whatever that means. (What was former sponsor Visa, an unwanted squatter?) Those who watch the race will be treated to endless close-ups of the way-happy Yum! logo at "the starting gate; finish line; main tote boards; Paddock tote boards; and on the jackets of the pony riders who escort the Derby horses and jockeys during the post parade." But the fine print in the release demonstrates that the target market for the campaign, created by Foote Cone & Belding, Chicago, isn’t the untold millions who squander precious calories at the restaurants. It’s investors. Still, a visit to the Yum! Web site reveals that the company couldn’t resist also giving a few pointers on how to throw "a Yum!tastic Derby Party." My favorite tip was either the instructions for an A&W Mint Julep float or the menu planning advice from the Yum! corporate chefs, who naturally focus on simply calling up a Yum! restaurant and ordering takeout. Given the Derby’s reputation for being a rather high-end affair, doesn’t having Long John Silver’s cater your Derby party seem like a bit of stretch? Oh, I get it, here’s some synergy … down the stretch they come.

—Posted by Catharine P. Taylor