KFC Germany Kristallnacht marketing automation

Occurred: November 2022 

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An automated alert sent to customers by KFC in Germany commemorating the 84th anniversary of Kristallnacht (or 'The Night of Broken Glass') has backfired.

The alert urged customers to commemorate the Kristallnacht by eating its cheesy fried chicken. The Kristallnacht was the 1938 pogrom that preceded the Holocaustor and saw Nazi mobs destroy synagogues and Jewish-owned businesses, kill 91 Jews and send 30,000 to concentration camps.

The promotion suggested customers 'Go ahead and treat yourself to more soft cheese on your crispy chicken. Now available at KFCheese!' under the subject line 'Memorial day for the Reich pogrom night'.

KFC apologised after customers started complaining and the promotion was picked up by the EU arm of the Anti-Defamation League ('ADL'), whose associate director Dalia Grinfield tweeted 'How wrong can you get on Kristallnacht KFC Germany. Shame on you!'

The fast food chain blamed the message on an 'automated push notification ... linked to calendars that include national observances', adding that it 'sincerely' apologised for the 'unplanned, insensitive and unacceptable message'.

Operator: KFC Germany
Developer: KFC Germany
Country: Germany
Sector: Food/food services
Purpose: Automate marketing communications
Technology: Bot/intelligent agent
Issue: Governance; Safety
Transparency: Governance