Kendra Wilkinson is a tanned, platinum-blond Playboy Model from Southern California who refers to Olive Garden as "my soul food." Which would seem to be exactly the sort of culinary embrace that one would expect from Hugh Hefner's live-in girlfriend, no? It's really quite a revealing bit of Americana. But Olive Garden itself wants to cater exclusively to waddling suburbanites, and fears that Wilkinson's sexy sexual sexuality will, somehow, scare away the clean customers. But why?
One official says the company has tried to walk a fine line with its response, maintaining the chain's wholesome image without alienating potential customers. "I don't feel comfortable talking about this...because it is a complicated issue for the brand," says Michele Kay, executive vice president of WPP Group's Grey advertising firm, which handles the Olive Garden account.The purported issue here is whether companies should embrace "rogue" famous fans, even if they're as disreputable as-the two examples actually used-a Playboy model or a rapper. In other words: how does corporate America deal with blacks and loose women? Olive Garden, of course, is foolish. A blond Playboy model perfectly embodies their outward deliciousness and inner emptiness. Don't let her defect to Applebee's, you fools. [WSJ; pic via Evil Beet]