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The Colonel Plays A Politcal Game Of "Chicken"

Thursday, 26 Jun 2008 | 2:57 PM ET

Oh those marketing geniuses at Yum! Brandsand Dr. Pepper Snapple (formerly Cadbury Schweppes). Slogans like "Finger Lickin' Good," and people dancing around singing "I'm a Pepper" just don't cut it anymore in the age of dogs riding skateboards on YouTube and products which promote "going commando." Sigh. I miss wanting to teach the world to sing, in perfect harmony.

But we live in different times. Politically intense times. The era of eBay.

So KFC, owned by Yum! Brands, is playing a political game of chicken this election year by selling "Right Wing" and "Left Wing" T-shirts. (See images.) For undecided voters, there's a shirt saying "Tastes the Same to Me." The slogans are printed on American Apparel T-shirts (man, read Margaret Brennan's past blogs on THAT company), and all proceeds go to charity. While being sold at www.kfc.com, the company is also flooding Young Republican and Young Democrat events with the tees, and hoping to convince some celeb to wear one. But what about Bob Barr fans? "Wingless"? Ralph Nader? Maybe just an egg.

Dr. Pepper couldn't give a hoot about the election. He's a lover not a fighter. And he recognizes crass commercialization when he sees it! A Virginia bride named Kelly Gray auctioned off a spot at her wedding on eBay to help pay for the $7,000 event. The winner, out of 23 bids, was Dr. Pepper! Paying $5,700! Actually the winner was "Nick" from Dr. Pepper, as in PR guru Nick Ragone (www.nickragone.com) who came up with the idea. Ragone says the company will actually pitch in $10k for the wedding and supply all the drinks. Gee, what drinks they'll provide?

Ragone says, "We're finding that traditional media just isn't reaching our target audiences anymore, and so we're taking on more 'disruptive' tactics - things that get inside a story in a way that connects with people." ABC's "Good Morning America" is doing a story on the stunt, but, of course, being on my blog is the true sign of successful. After all, I "broke" the story when Dr. Pepper offered everyone in America a free soda if Axl Rose finished his 17-year-in-the-making epic "Chinese Democracy." "We've caught lightning in a bottle again," says Ragone, who makes more money than I do, thinking up stuff like this.

But you don't think Nick s actually going to the wedding, do you? Dr. Pepper plans to launch a website to help Gray find a guest to actually show up in Ragone's place.

Still...forget being a wedding guest! Fake Jane wishes she could just marry the good doctor...he's rich and famous, and he wouldn't require much from her. Plus, she can always "can" him in the recycling bin if things don't work out.

EMAIL ON MR. POTATO HEAD!
From Julie B:
"Someone needs to have a talk with Mr. Potato Head. It looks as though he's been experimenting with Mrs. Potato Head's wardrobe (earrings... pouty pink lips... WAND)....maybe that's why he has a suitcase..."

Questions? Comments? Funny Stories? Email funnybusiness@cnbc.com

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  • Based in Los Angeles, Jane Wells is a CNBC business news reporter and also writes the Funny Business blog for CNBC.com.

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