A lighthearted look at news, events, culture and everyday life in New York. The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.
By Nina Pajak
Stop. What? Wait, yes? Shut up.
That is the normal human emotional response to learning of the recently unveiled Kentucky Fried Chicken drumstick corsage. The 2-minute spot shows a typically awkward, cute high school couple observing the typical American pre-prom customs. No, not milling around someone’s front yard with 25 of your best friends while everyone’s parents snap photos and drink wine. The thing that ostensibly happens before that: they’re engaging in the time-honored tradition of exchanging corsages and boutonnieres. The girl shyly pins a flower on her date’s lapel, and then it’s his turn. He slowly opens a box and unveils a corsage of baby’s breath, at the center of which is a fried chicken drumstick. “It’s original recipe,” he explains. The girl looks to her parents, who seem confused but encouraging. She inhales deeply. It smells wonderful. Later, at the prom, they are dancing close. He leans in for a kiss. She leans in for a bite of her enchanting meat bracelet. Prom is magic! Chicken is magic! ‘Murica!
Only, it’s not just a quirky schtick for an ad campaign. Well no, that’s not exactly right. Of course it’s a marketing schtick, but it’s also so much more. KFC has really made the chicken corsage! One hundred of them, to be exact, and they will be worn by 97 real, live, lucky young ladies who definitely have dates and aren’t going in a big group because eff prom, let’s just totally go to make fun of everyone, unless Hot Jake asks them in which case they’ll go with him because it would be soooo random and people would be all whaaaat??? and really you only get one prom so let’s make it count, guys. Oh, and one real, live, lucky girl who will do anything for attention, and one whose boyfriend thinks he’s hilarious and I have to assume one who just has a major thing for chicken.
They are obviously long sold out. You know, because kids love irony and fast food and smelling like poultry and grease dripping perilously close to the first fancy gown they’ve ever had an excuse to wear. But mostly irony. And let’s be real, chicken is delicious! In case your son or daughter is considering jumping on this fleeting bandwagon with a DIY version, we should consider whether it’s wise.
Price: The florist who makes the KFC corsage lists traditional floral versions at anywhere from around $13 to $25. The chicken corsage costs $20. Advantage: flowers.
Maintenance: Both need to be refrigerated prior to wear. However, flowers are easily crushed and/or destroyed by extreme weather, whereas the chicken’s breaded outer shell lends durability. Advantage: chicken.
Practicality: Flowers will eventually wilt and die, or be smushed in the crowd, or tossed aside and forgotten on a limo or dance floor. The chicken will most certainly be consumed before its disposal, making it both more useful and more environmentally sound. Er, sure. Advantage: chicken.
Style: While the chicken is clearly a statement-maker, it’s hard to match a prom dress to fried fowl. And I must again raise the issue of the inevitable grease residue that would threaten the clothing of both the wearer and anyone with whom she comes into contact. Advantage: flowers.
As you can see, it’s a dead heat. Frankly, I’d like to see some industrious and crafty teens take this concept and run with it. Crumpled Doritos bags (and the orange dust found therein), popcorn shrimp, Gorditas, Dominoes stuffed cheesy bread—the world is filled with potential materials! Hey, Tim Gunn, or whoever is running Project Runway these days: I think you just found your next unconventional materials challenge. Finally, fashion and fast food have found a way to be together. It’s like it was meant to be.
Nina Pajak is a writer living with her husband, daughter and dog in Queens. Connect with Nina on Twitter!