KFC Germany apologizes for announcing a Kristallnacht promotion

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CNN Business

KFC Germany apologized for one “unacceptable” message sent to customers on Wednesday, which appeared to link a sales promotion to the annual Christmas Eve commemoration.

KFC app users in the country received a message encouraging them to mark the day with KFC’s crispy chicken and cheese, according to Twitter users who shared screenshots of the message in German. The initial message was apparently followed by another, saying the first was an error.

Kristallnacht, often translated as “Night of Broken Glass,” refers to a series of violent attacks by the Nazi regime on Jewish businesses, homes, and synagogues in 1938.

“Today, an automatic push notification was accidental [SIC] issued to users of the KFC app in Germany that contained an obviously unplanned, insensitive and unacceptable message,” KFC Germany said in an emailed statement to CNN Business. “We understand and respect the seriousness and history of this day, and we remain committed to equity, inclusion and belonging for all.”

“We sincerely apologize,” the statement continued.

KFC Germany did not confirm the language used in the alert.

The company explained that it relies on a “semi-automated content creation process linked to calendars that include national observations,” adding that “in this case, our internal review process was not followed properly, resulting in to a shared unapproved notification.”

KFC Germany said yesterday that it suspended communications from the app while it reviewed its process to make sure something like this doesn’t happen again.

In this case, the company was able to blame the error on an automated system. But brands often get messaging wrong during holidays or memorial days, especially those that commemorate a painful occasion.

Juneteenth, which marks the end of slavery in the United States, became a federal holiday last year.

Brands rushed to create messages and products for the holidays this year, and many missed the mark. Some drew on racist tropes to mark the occasion and others treated it as a simple celebration, leaving people disappointed and offended.

KFC’s message sparked similar outrage among some German customers and has been widely criticized on social media.

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