Commercialism, advertising, film and fast food. KFC’s new “film”, A Recipe for Seduction, begs the question – Where’s the line?
A Recipe for Seduction is a fifteen minute short or as Lifetime calls it, a “mini-movie” set to be released on Lifetime on December 13th. It stars A.C. Slater, (Mario Lopez), A Recipe for Seduction is about a cook named Colonel Sanders and his Secret Recipe. The trailer teases a typical lifetime movie plot with over the top acting, murder and intrigue.
The premise is as obscene as anything 2020 and crosses a line into a terrifying place for content and art. We’ve watched companies pay to have their products used in tv and film for decades now. This past decade the products became small commercials within the content. It was written into the script, the camera seductively paned across the products. (think James and Dean in Supernatural talking about how much they love their new Microsoft surface!)
But it wasn’t until KFC announced, A Recipe for Seduction, that the product became the premise.
And that should scare us all.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m going to watch this short (I refuse on principle to call it a “mini-movie”). I watched the trailer six times already and laughed until I cried. Mario Lopez’s hair looks like they just took a bottle of grey spray paint and went to town. And my favorite line is hands down, “You’re secret is out, chicken man!”
Fresh content is coveted. And this content is brilliant from a marketing and PR perspective for both Lifetime and KFC.
Lifetime isn’t exactly known for high brow content but this step feels like the thin veil of free speech within the arts is disintegrating at a rapid rate.
What happens when advertising and commercialism don’t even mask their fingerprints in the art industry (and beyond) but instead dip their hands in ink and high-five quality content, dictating what we make and leaving it devoid of color, vibrancy and authenticity.
Now, this may be a bit of a stretch. It is just lifetime movie.
But once A Recipe for Seduction is successful, we will only see more and more of this. And by this I don’t mean we’re going to see a swath of fast food-related films. Although I do have an idea for a down on his luck Burger King with a vegan girlfriend.
What I mean is, the commercialism of art will move from subtle to sledgehammer.
Joan Miró said, “More important than a work of art itself is what it will sow. Art can die, a painting can disappear. What counts is the seed.”
What’s scary about all of this is that we aren’t even apologizing for our bad behavior anymore. Just the sniff of an advert for a product snuck into film or tv used to feel dirty. It usually meant the show was on their last leg and had to rely on cheap ad money to plug a hole in a sinking ship.
Now we’ve become so inundated with ads that it doesn’t even bother us. And we apparently went to the scary place of the uncanny valley. But you know, it is 2020 for a few more weeks. Maybe it’s just the last check off the 2020 Bingo card, right next to Murder Hornets.
Kaeley is a contemporary artist and cultural organizer who loves good espresso and a cold Coke Zero.