Thursday, May 10, 2007

Yum! Brands Are Clueless Fucktards

Last year I was pretty pissed to learn that the oldest and most traditional sporting event in these United States had sold out to a corporate sponsor. And not just any corporate sponsor, but the stupidest sounding and looking one you could ever imagine: Yum! Brands. I mean seriously, that exclamation point makes it infinitely sillier, doesn't it? I suppose it could be worse, because as bad as "The Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands" sounds, it's not as bad as "The Yum! Brands Kentucky Derby". Either way- I will always call it by it's proper name without the ridiculous corporate tag. These douchebags even wanted to hang a giant Yum! Brands banner between the famous twin spires at Churchill Downs for last year's Derby, but thankfully enough people were enraged enough to complain and they were forced to throw that idea in the dustbin.

A year passed, and although I remain peeved, I have learned to live with it as I see it pop up in articles in mainstream horse racing publications and whatnot. And hell, I never eat Taco Hell, KFC, Pizza Slut, or Long John Silvers, so at least I am not contributing to their bottom line/my own bad health.

But last week they went and did something so utterly clueless and stupid and so out of tune and disrespectful to the horse racing industry and the race name that they have hijacked, that the flames of the fire of my hatred for Yum! Brands have been seriously fanned, and only my extreme busyness has prevented me from commenting on it until now.

No, I'm not talking about those stupid ass commercials that ran during the Derby coverage about how Yum! brands are spreading their heart disease like wildfire in China. I am talking about the $1 million bonus that they announced last week that they will award to any horse who wins the Derby and wins by more than 6.5 lengths. This has supposedly been done to bring "a little extra fun and creativity" to the Derby, as well as to honor the "victory" and "spirit" of Barbaro, who won last year's Derby by 6.5 lengths before breaking down in The Preakness and eventually succumbing to his mortal injuries after a long fight to survive them. The 6.5 lengths that Barbaro won by was the largest winning margin in the Derby since Assault in 1948, who went on to win the Triple Crown, so last year it was seen as a really big deal that Barbaro won by so much. I would give you more quotes from the genuises at Yum! Brands to highlight their utter cluelessness that I am about to explain, but there are too many to choose from.


Yum! Brands CEO & clueless douchebag
David Novak giving the big announcement


"So what's the beef, Kanu? I don't get it."

The beef is threefold.

First, this is completely antithetical to horse racing strategy, which dictates that if it is clear that you have the race won, you then use the minumum required energy to get to the finish line in order to keep the horse fresh, not overexert him unnecessarily, and to save something for the next race. This is why you see horses way out in front coming down the stretch rarely if ever whip their horse, and they often "hand-ride" them home and even ease up on the horse to leave something in the tank and save as much energy as possible for the next race.

This theory is at is peak in the Derby: whereas in a "normal" schedule of races a horse will race about once a month, a Derby winner will in all likelihood be making a run at the Triple Crown, which means 3 grueling races in only a 5 week span. So of all the races in the world, the Derby moreso than any other is one where if you know you are going to win, you would never want to exert your horse any more than is needed to win the race. This alone shows the utter cluelessness of Yum! brands as to the event & sport that they have attached themselves to.

Secondly, winning the Derby is the most difficult and biggest achievement in racing if not sport, and horse people, by whom I mean owners, trainers, and jockeys, do not give a flying fuck if they win the Derby by a nose or by 20 lengths. Winning the Derby is such a big deal that no one cares about the margin of victory- just to win it is the greatest thing that will happen in these people's lives, other than the birth of their children. So Yum! Brands have created a superfluous prize on top of what is already the greatest prize in horse racing, that frankly no one in racing gives an ounce of shit about. Good job, Einsteins.


Yeah, Borel looks totally bummed out
that he didn't just win your stupid prize.

Thirdly, thoroughbred race horses are the most finely tuned and fragile animals on the planet as well as athletes, if you will. When they break down it is extremely emotional and tragic for people in racing and people who love racing. Sometimes they break down because they are pushed too hard, or put into situations where they push themselves too hard- Ruffian tragically breaking down in a match race where she sprinted all out the whole way around come to mind, and this largely ended match races which are thought to tax the animals too much and place them in an unsafe situation. Other times horses break down for no other reason than the cruel fate of a bad step, as was the case with Barbaro last year. A synthetic racing surface called Polytrack is slowly being introduced to tracks around the country mainly because it is much safer for the animals and has been shown to reduce the number of injuries in race horses by 90%. Well this bonus is essentially asking horse owners and trainers to push these fragile animals unnecessarily and risk them getting hurt, which is shortsighted and stupid.


Let's honor this horse that tragically broke down by tempting
people with lots of cash to overexert their horses unnecessarily
and heighten the risk of them breaking down tragically. Genius.

For these reasons this bonus award cheesy, cheap, classless, clueless, and completely out of touch with the horse industry.

But I haven't even told you the worst part: the name of this $1 million bonus. Behold:

THE YUMFECTA.

No, I'm not making this up. I'm actually really surprised that they didn't go with YUM!FECTA. Just atrocious.

Fortunately, this grand idea has been universally panned by horse people including owners and trainers. No owner/trainer is going to tell the jockey that if they know they are going to win the Derby and are in the clear, to whip the shit out of the horse and gun it to try for this absurd prize. I was also pleased to see Randy Moss on ESPN bash the whole thing more than once on air. During Friday's Oaks coverage he rightfully said something like "what worse way to honor the legacy of Barbaro, a horse that broke down, then by encouraging horse owners & trainers to unnecessarily push their horses?" {my paraphrase of what he said not his exact quote}.

The whole thing is extremely tasteless because it shows that the corporate sponsor is only interested in overexposing their brand as much as possible, which I suppose is no different than any other. Hell, we've all seen the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. But this is way worse because in this case the corporate sponsor has no clue about some of the principles & ethics of the sport and event that they are sponsoring, and have created an award to get their name out in the spotlight even more which is antithetical to the values and principles of the horse racing industry.

Because their products are shit and shitty for me, I haven't eaten at a Yum! Brands restaurant in several years, but now I will be sure to never break down and eat their shitty/shitty for me food on general principle. Sorry to be so negative, but if you come up with something this unbelievably clueless and stupid as a disguise to further prostitute your brand name, then you deserve to be called on it and ripped a new one.

This is probably worse than the Tour Of California bicycle race having as it's title sponsor the medical company that produces EPO. And, no, I'm not kidding about that either. In reality, this probably isn't as bad, but then again, that race doesn't have anything approaching the stupidity of YUMFECTA, which singlehandedly makes this one the worst.

Good Day, Yum! Brands, and kindly fuck off. Your food is complete shit and so are you.

I said Good Day.

5 comments:

Doug said...

I had to laugh out loud when I read the word "Yumfecta." The corporation's whole strategy w/r/t Derby marketing sounds like something out of an "Arrested Development" episode, only it would've been funny on the show. "Hey, as part of their sponsorship of Super Bowl XLVIII, the Bluth Corporation is giving $1 million to every player on the winning team if they win by more than 4 touchdowns! We'll say that the losing team was BLUTHERIZED!!!!"

Brain said...

I was waiting for this. Just simmering for 10 or so days. As a Louisville resident and wanting nothing more than a company from Louisville to do well, I have thought the Yum! sponcership was God Awful! to say the least. I have felt that Yum! has not been a Louisville company since John Y. Brown sold the damn thing in the early 1980's. The Yum!fecta is a very bad corprate marketers wet dream. I do love the fact that I did not hear of this forsaken concept other than the intial press confrence and Mr. Moss' (of horse racing fame not of Smoothie and football fame)coments Friday. I have tried to stay away from their establishments and will continue to do so. It would e so cool if Yum! would have said "we will give The Laminitous Foundation a donation of $20,000 a year in the name of the winner to honor Barbaro". I can only hope for a day that this black eye will go away.

OMAA said...

Yumfecta??? You kidding me? I couldn't keep it in. I'm not much into racing, but that sounds totally gay to me. Doesn't make much sense either.

Very, very strange. Go and enjoy a sunset or something.

Kanu said...

D. B. O.-

Agreed.

Agreed.

Agreed.

DC Trojan said...

I had no idea that Taco Bell et al were owned by "Yum!" brands. I would have thought that "Runs!" brands would have been more accurate, if less appetizing.