File under awful marketing... Yum! Brands, the parent company of Taco Bell and KFC, recently launched a new bánh mì concept in Dallas called Banh Shop. Which is... neat? Interesting? Inevitable? I do love me some bánh mì, but the people behind Taco Bell better make one hell of a sandwich to get me to abandon my favorite bánh mì joint. But who knows? Maybe it tastes okay. That's not the problem.
Taco Bell's Parent Company Opens a Bánh Mì Shop...with Communist Star in Logo
Somewhere along the way, the minds behind Banh Shop designed the restaurant's logo with the stupidest choice possible: a Communist star. The five-pointed red star is a widely-recognized symbol for communism -- and a sure-fire way to get thousands of Vietnamese Americans really, really angry.
The red star is a symbol of suffering, anger and displacement for a generation of Vietnamese Americans who fled their country's communist regime during the Vietnam War. They are not fans of the Vietnamese communist government. If you're going to market "Saigon Street Food," you might want to start by not using the most offensive symbol possible for your restaurant logo. OC Weekly's Charles Lam explains:
For those of you who last paid attention to the Vietnam War before the Tet Offensive, a short primer: The majority of Vietnamese living overseas are refugees from the Vietnam War. They hate the Vietnamese communist government, and, really, communism in general. Why? Well, when someone invades your country, kills your family (my grandfather was killed by a VC roadside bomb, for example), renames your capital, throws you in reeducation camps and forces you to flee your homeland, it's kind of hard not to.
Showing off a Communist Vietnamese flag, waving communist symbolism around, posting a picture of Ho Chi Minh--those are all really easy ways to make sure your Vietnamese-ish restaurant upsets a lot of people. There's a reason why you hardly ever see the official Vietnamese flag flying in the Western United States. Oh, it probably doesn't help that Banh Shop's motto is "Saigon Street Food" either.
A little research would have been smart. A basic Wikipedia search, even. There's so much fail in this, it hurts.
The restaurant, which opened last week in Dallas, is already picking up negative attention from the local Vietnamese American community, including a wave of irate comments on the Banh Shop's Facebook page. You can probably expect a protest outside of Yum! Brands headquarters in the near future.
More here: Logo for Yum! Brands banh mi restaurant angers Vietnamese community