The information that’s missing here is what show(s) was soulsearching watching when the ads were aired.
Most national advertisers have “target specific” ads that are tailored to appeal to the audience demographics expected to be viewing that type of program. The fast food ad that airs on ESPN will most likely be skewed differently than the one on Lifetime.
I’m not familiar with the particular ads in question, but a few years back, when Sprite was losing market share, they decided to aggressively go after the youth market. They hired a black NBA player as a spokeperson in ads which generally mocked Sprite. Mocking being very popular with today’s youth market. Kids had a product that was speaking their language. Sprite was cool.
The ads started to click with kids, which is an excellent market to develop. Brand loyalty established early is gold! Encouraged by the early results, Sprite went on to sponsor rap concerts and awards shows, becoming a hip thing to drink. At these awards shows and concerts aired on MTV, top rap acts appeared nationally in front of a giant Sprite logo. Sales skyrocketed. Not bad for another lemon-lime knock-off of 7-up.
As far as BK not realizing they may be “pushing away” customers with these ads, it reminds me of my aged mother-in-law and the Carls Jr. ads where ketchup and mustard would spill out of the burger making a mess. She couldn’t understand how they expected senior citizens to want to eat there if their food was so messy. Sometimes, you just have to realize you’ve grown out of a target demo. They’re no longer interested in you.
Interesting how the wheel has turned. I remember in 1985, Michael Nesmith’s short-lived series “Television Parts” featured a pre-talk show, Arsenio Hall doing a routine about how all the fast food ads featured really white people, so he presented one that would appeal to a black audience. With white customers fleeing the singing and dancing black counter people. (“Put the meat, on the bun. Put the cheese, on the meat. Put the sauce, all over the food. All over the food…”)