People are angry with KFC at Ultra Miami and it’s okay

This weekend, Ultra Music Festival in Miami is having its 21st Edition in a new location due to a lot of problems with neighbors in the past years at the Bayfront Park. This has caused a lot of questions whether this will be the best location to host Ultra every year or if it will change. Even though traffic has been one of the main complaints regarding the Ultra experience, there is something pretty curious that happened at the Mainstage on it’s first day, the appearance of Colonel Sanders as a DJ. Yes, the guy from KFC.

Colonel Sanders, the face of KFC, one of the biggest chains of fast food in the world, got on the Mainstage of Ultra Music Festival in Miami. I mean, not the real RIP Colonel Sanders, but someone with a fake head with LEDs that blasted during almost five minutes. A track was made (not a very good one to be honest), visuals were played (very well made in my opinion) and a nice try to enter in the DJ world with your brand.

Whether you disagree or applaud this expensive marketing hook, a huge conversation has started in social media regarding this moment. Some of the best DJs in the world did not like this to happen on the mainstage, since a lot of them agree that, “this has robbed the opportunity to up & coming producers to show their skill”. An argument that was used pretty much by a lot of people in Twitter that do not agree as well on this happening.

Marhmello, Kaskade, Kryder, DJ Chuckie and Funkagenda,  are just a few of the DJs that do not agree with the marketing campaing KFC pulled during a five minute slot on the Mainstage. But, was this really that bad?

During a lot of years, we have seen publicity stunts happening in front of us during shows and we might not be very aware of this. This is because a lot of brands decide to not make it a “in your face” move, but more of an underwater maneuver that engages with the audience in a more, “organic”, way. Because this is what a new generations likes no? To get in love with a brand through other people that tells us this is amazing. We do not want the brand telling us what to do.

I can recall a few moments dance music has been part of huge campaigns that enter to our brains in a more organic way and we even love it. Take a look on some of this moments.

Avicii partnered with Coca Cola for a campaign in 2016, making a huge anthem next to Conrad Sewell. Super smooth, natural and catchy. Don’t you want to taste the feeling?

#TheOnlyWayIsUp was a marketing campaign 7UP decided to make after a research that understood that dance music relates very well with young people. We as a young generation, like sodas, and we LOVE Tiësto + Martin Garrix, This developed on a song being made for their global campaign, which also has an amazing music video. I even got to collect the soda cans of 7UP, branded with Tiësto & Garrix. This is an amazing campaign and a standard on how to make excellent brand decisions.

If we get back to the first years of the EDM explosion during this decade, probably one of the most iconic anthems and very well developed campaigns is the collaboration between Swedish House Mafia and Absolut Vodka, which ended in a massive track called, ‘Greyhound’.

I mean, how amazing is this that the song is even one of our favorites and it was intended to be a track for the Absolut global campaign.

They even opened a lot of their shows with this song. It never gets old!

Five minutes of an ad on the screens of Ultra don’t hurt anyone, nor it takes the opportunity to a new producer. Imagine giving a five minute chance to someone, I would be more mad to not give someone a full time slot to show us their work. New opportunities are much needed in the festival world, but no five minutes slots.

A lot of times, when you are in the in between of a set change, Ultra, in this case, brings their own MC, Damian Pinto, to cheer up the crowd since their is a lot of work happening on stage to change CDJs, Mixers, complete set ups or anything technically required for the next artist. In this case, there most have been a sales pitch where Ultra and the brand decided to make something different than just pulling banners of KFC all over Ultra. I think this is smart and has to be done more in this path, but the execution was not the right way of doing so. Maybe doing a KFC stage would be more suitable? This has been done with different brands such as 7UP and Heineken, who have had sponsored stages in a lot of festivals. Probably this was not on the KFC budget, and this was a new way of getting more noise. The final result is was achieved: create a lot of noise worldwide with Colonel Sanders on stage.

Was this bad or good? In my opinion, I’ll stay with the laughs this made me have. There’s no profound message or intention in the backstage of this story.

Trino Trevino- @trinodj



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