To represent the Chinese characteristics and increase the identification from Chinese consumers, KFC absorbs Chinese cultural elements into the arrangements and decorations of its outlets all over China. In 2003, KFC spent 7.6 million renminbi (equal to 900,000 US dollars) to redecorate the flagship outlet in Beijing, which is also the world's largest KFC outlet, with the Great Wall, shadowgraph, Chinese kites and other traditional Chinese symbols. In the Chinese New Year of 2003, all the statues of Colonel Sanders in KFC outlets in China were put on the Chinese traditional suits which are known as "Tang suits".
One feature noticeable in KFC's commercials is its preference on the representation of an ancient art form of China-Beijing Opera. It is interesting to find a U.S. fast food brand presents a declining traditional art and attaches pop culture elements with it. One of the commercials depicts a Beijing Opera actor in costume and with make-ups still on his face is about to have his KFC meal (figure 3.1). The second commercial exhibits the contradiction and later harmony of a father and son; the roles of father and son stand for two generations and serve as the distinct incarnations for traditional and pop cultures. The screen is divided into two parts: the father is singing Beijing Opera in the left room while the son is dancing with Hip hop music in the right room (figure 3.2). They finally get to the reconcilement by eating the Old Beijing Chicken Roll served by the mother. The third commercial starts with a background music which merges the Beijing Opera and electronic midi. The three commercials exemplify KFC's efforts to integrate Chinese traditional culture into the modern pop culture.
Figure 3.1 Beijing Opera actor and his KFC meal
Figure 3.2 Father singing Beijing Opera and son dancing Hip hop
3.2. Individualism and collectivism
Hofstede (1980) claims culture is a complex, multifaceted construct. One of the most basic dimensions of culture is the individualism-collectivism dimension. In Zhang and Neelankavil's (1997) discussion about the influence of the USA-China cultural differences on the choice of advertising appeals and strategies in China, collectivism/individualism perspective was examined as important indicators in their advertising content analysis.
According to Triandis (1990), individualistic cultures emphasize independence, achievement, freedom, high levels of competition,...