KFC Is Apologizing For Its Kristallnacht Chicken Sandwich Ad

KFC is no stranger to peculiar advertisements. Who could forget the fast food giant's collaboration with Crocs, when the companies teamed up to make a shoe printed with a fried chicken texture? (Sorry folks, they're all sold out.) Earlier this year, leading up to Mother's Day, KFC offered a bouquet made out of fried chicken called "The Kentucky Fried Chicken Buckquet." (Yes, really.)

But, not all of the brand's ads have been quite so lighthearted. Last February, KFC India issued a public apology via Twitter for a "Kashmir Solidarity Day" post it made, which triggered an international dispute and led many Indian consumers to boycott KFC. The tweet read: "We deeply apologize for a post that was published on some KFC social media channels outside the country. We honor and respect India, and remain steadfast in our commitment to serving all Indians with pride." According to news outlet Albawaba, the original post in support of Kashmir Solidarity Day came from a KFC restaurant in Pakistan — and, of course, it wasn't long before news of the post made its way to India. To quell the public backlash, KFC put up signs inside its Indian stores that read: "Entire #Kashmir including POK is an integral part of India." 

Now, KFC is back in the headlines for another ill-conceived promo. This time, it's apologizing for a Kristallnacht chicken sandwich ad.

Advertising chicken on a hate-crime remembrance day

Per the BBC, on Wednesday, people in Germany with the KFC app were met with a message alert that read, "It's memorial day for Kristallnacht! Treat yourself with more tender cheese on your crispy chicken. Now at KFCheese!" 

Kristallnacht is far from a holiday. In fact, you might know the day by its other name, the "Night of Broken Glass." According to The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Kristallnacht happened during the night of November 9, 1938 into November 10. It commemorates the date when the Nazis began their anti-semitic assault in Germany, unleashing a nightmarish wave of violence against the country's Jewish communities — shattering store windows owned by Jewish businessmen, raiding homes, burning synagogues, and even desecrating cemeteries. Many historians regard Kristallnacht as the beginning of the Holocaust. In modern-day Germany, the day is regarded solemnly and remembered with a series of memorial events. Needless to say, it was a big mistake for KFC to make.

An hour after the first alert, KFC followed up with an apology blaming the message on "an error in our system." The message, KFC explained, came from an automated algorithm that sends push notifications to app users based on the nationally-observed holidays that come pre-loaded into calendars. KFC has since released a statement saying, "[We] remain committed to equity, inclusion and belonging for all."