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For when I need more than 140 characters to finish a thought on marketing, media or message.


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KFC Famous Bowls: America’s failure pile with bacon!

ED’S NOTE: The commentary here reflects my interest in advertising as a marketing student. No products, services or agencies are endorsed. The opinions expressed here are mine and in no way reflect the opinions of my employers.

UPDATE 12-06-2011: The original ad was pulled, but I found a version that intersplices commentary from Jim Gaffagin. “Yay, bacon!”

Is it possible that the failure pile in the sadness bowl could get even sadder?

One of the most bewildering fast-food marketing successes, the KFC Famous Bowl, has added BACON to the mound of mashed potatoes, gravy, chicken bits, corn and cheese, and behold! The KFC Cheesy Bacon Bowl.
 

Everything is better with bacon.

~ “Rachel,”
KFC employee

 

 

KFC (NASDAQ: YUM) introduced the Famous Bowls, its take on Shepherd’s Pie, in 2006. It became the most memorable product launched that year. Not long after, comic and writer Patton Oswalt seized on the absurdity of the dish, dubbing it a “failure pile in a sadness bowl.” Oswalt’s side-splittingly funny stand-up bit went viral, giving the bowls more publicity than KFC could have hoped for. (Warning: Oswalt’s clip is pee-in-your-pants funny, but he uses strong language. Put the headphones on if you’re at work or if the kids are still awake.)
 

 
It seems KFC is good natured about Oswalt’s hilariously devastating commentary on its best-selling product; the Colonel’s social media team even went so far as to engage the comedian on Twitter as the Cheesy Bacon Bowl launched.
 

 
Nicely played, Colonel.

At the time of this writing, the KFC ad, posted Oct. 14 on YouTube, had 33,648 views, 44 likes, 13 dislikes and 53 comments. UPDATE 12-06-2011: It has since been pulled.
 

I want to be an American. Does that mean I have to be fat first?
~ Adam,
YouTuber

 
Yes, Adam. I believe it’s in the naturalization laws.

About the KFC Channel
(As of Oct. 26, 2011)

  • Channel Views: 135,159
  • Total Upload Views: 1,275,294
  • Joined: March 27, 2007
  • Subscribers: 1,099

 

* * * * * * * *

 

RELATED: Patton Oswalt on the worst Christmas song ever

 


Even better at Eventide

We recently celebrated a birthday at Eventide in Arlington, Va., a popular fine dining restaurant in the Clarendon area that is known for its fabulous rooftop experience. It was a bit cold for April, so this time we dined in the main dining room, which has to be one of the best designed in Northern Virginia. And I’m not just talking about decor: Our party of four was comfortably seated at a table that was not a mere 4 inches from another table. The impossibly crowded dining rooms that seem characteristic of Northern Virginia’s better restaurants have long been a complaint of mine, so it’s nice to dine with my chosen company and not complete strangers.

Our meal was good, no complaints — I had the forest mushroom and ricotta tortellini with green lentils and black truffle butter sauce — but I think I’ve more enjoyed our meals in the bar. I can’t tell you why exactly; maybe it’s because my palate is only slightly more sophisticated than a 7-year-old’s. Though perhaps it’s because I enjoy small bites of a lot of flavors, and the lounge menu certainly offers that. The truffle French fries and soft pretzels are our favorites, and the pulled-bison barbecue sliders are must-tastes.

For the more serious diners, the main menu is changed seasonally. Most recently, the features included the aforementioned tortellini, Scottish salmon with fiddlehead ferns and sweet peas, and a beef tenderloin with carmelized fingerling potatoes, asparagus and a sherry brown butter emulsion.

On the Web: eventiderestaurant.com

Where in the World: 3165 Wilson Boulevard
Arlington, VA 22201-4420

Phone: 703.276.3165

Diners Advisory: Reservations are not accepted for the roof.

Hours (Bar): Tuesday-Saturday: Opens at 5 p.m.
Hours (Main Dining Room): Tuesday-Saturday: 5:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m.

Eventide on Yelp

Eventide on foursquare

Eventide on Gowalla

Eventide on Twitter

On Google Maps:
 


Bon Chon: Also finger-lickin’ good

ED’S NOTE: A guest post from my better half. Originally posted at A Few Things Considered.

By Trey Barrineau

I’ve had a long love affair with fried chicken (I am a Southern boy, after all), and I’ve savored it at places that are considered legendary (Price’s Chicken Coop in Charlotte, among many others). But I may have discovered a place that puts them to shame: Bon Chon Chicken in Fairfax City.

This might — might — be the best fried chicken I’ve ever tasted. Bon Chon is a popular South Korean restaurant chain that specializes in KFC — Korean fried chicken. The Korean style of frying up yardbird is a two-step process, according to this article from The New York Times. The result is sublimely crunchy. In fact, it’s the most perfect crunch I’ve ever experienced from fried chicken. The only downside to this process: be prepared to wait a while for your food.

Bon Chon Chicken in Fairfax

On Yelp

On foursquare

On Gowalla

The chicken comes with two sauces — soy garlic or spicy soy garlic. I opted for the spicy, which had a wonderful kick, but was not overpowering. And unlike a lot of American wing places, the sauce is applied gently and is not messy. The side dishes and appetizers looked interesting, but I didn’t try any on my first visit.

If you live in Fairfax, you’ve got to try this place. Now.

On the Web: Bonchon.com

Where in the World: 3242 Old Pickett Road
Fairfax, VA 22031
(See website for other locations)

Phone: 703.865.5688 703.865.5689

Hours: Sunday, Monday: 4 p.m.-10 p.m.
Tuesday-Thursday: 11 a.m.-11 p.m.
Friday-Saturday: 11 a.m.-12 a.m.


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Checking in at Bon Chon Chicken

My better half has reviewed a place that he says “might — might — be the best fried chicken” he has ever tasted. It’s Bon Chon Chicken in Fairfax City, a popular South Korean restaurant chain that specializes in KFC — Korean fried chicken. If you want to know more about the food, check out his review, which will leave your mouth watering.

I have not experienced this chicken of all chickens, but — as the marketing student who never seems to sleep — I am interested in the store’s efforts at social media promotion.

Still fairly new in the neighborhood, Bon Chon’s Fairfax store is getting a little bit of play on foursquare (13 check-ins) and Gowalla (five check-ins). On Yelp, however, a 35 customers have offered comments, most of which are favorable. (The word “addictive” is used a lot.) The Fairfax store is also on Twitter (@bonchonfairfax) and Facebook. Curious to see what its Facebook fans have to say, I tried the FB page listed on the menu — facebook.com/BonChon-FFX — but I didn’t find it until I went to their Twitter feed and found it here. (The path listed on the menu doesn’t point to Facebook’s Pages.) Despite the confusion over the Facebook Page, I easily found their Facebook Places page, which has only four check-ins. That’s not to say there’s no “conversation” about Bon Chon, though: On my husband’s page, the mere mention quickly sparked seven comments and four “likes.”

Take that, Colonel Sanders.


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A regional gem: Hard Times Cafe

Affordable food. Friendly service. And cold beer.

What’s not to love?

We’ve enjoyed Hard Times Cafe since 2001: When we worked in Rosslyn, we used to stop at the one in Clarendon after work, then years later the Fairfax store opened around the corner from our then-new neighborhood, and that made for a nice welcome.

Often after a busy Saturday of errands and yard work, we’ll stop in for wings and chili. Our faves: the chili lime boneless wings and the Terlingua Red chili. Also not to be missed: the vegetarian chili, which is truly masterful. (Have a nut allergy? Take a pass on this chili. It has peanuts.)

Don’t live in Arlington? Not in Fairfax? Don’t worry, Hard Times Cafe has 16 locations in the D.C. metro area. You can find them here.

In Fairfax
Where: 4069 Chain Bridge Road
Fairfax, VA 22030

Phone: 703.267.9520

E-mail: fairfax@hardtimes.com

Hours: 11 a.m. until 1 a.m.
Sports Cue closes at 2 a.m.

On Google Maps:

On Yelp: Here

On Gowalla: Here

On foursquare: Here


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Minerva: A favorite taste of India

Another review of my work on this blog again shows me that I continue to promote a diet of fried food and beer — and flash fiction.And although those pursuits are not without their merits, I do have other interests and I do avail myself of Northern Virginia’s wonderful ethnic cuisines.

A longtime favorite in the Fairfax area is Minerva, where we’ve enjoyed their authentic Indian offerings for the past nine years. Among our favorites: the spinach pakora appetizer, the chicken vindaloo (for those who love a very spicy treat), and from the vegetarian menu, the navaratan korma. If you’re feeling hungry, get the dinner; if you’re looking for something not as filling, get the entrees a la cart and order a side of their fabulous naan or rice.

Where: 10364 Lee Highway
Fairfax, VA 22030
Also locations in Chantilly, Herndon and Gaithersburg, Md.

Phone: 703.383.9200

On Google Maps:

On Yelp: Here

On Gowalla: Here

On foursquare: Here


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Eat it up at EatBar

EDITOR’S NOTE: Nowhere from Here is now defunct.

Over at Nowhere From Here Forks and the Road, which is starting to look slightly less neglected,By J. Barrineau I begin babbling about Northern Virginia restaurants with EatBar in Arlington. It’s one of my all-time favorite restaurants, and I’m sad to say that I don’t get there nearly enough. The small-plate menu is always interesting, so much so that if you’re on a first date, you can relax — the menu can easily inspire conversation.

Read my whole review here.

EatBar on Facebook: Here

On Yelp: Here

On Gowalla: Here

On foursquare: Here

(Photo by J. Barrineau)