Tuesday, 25 July 2017

KFC: Evidence That Even The Best Agencies Can Cluck Up Sometimes

Well done Mother. You’ve proved that you’re only human, after all.

Mother, a great London agency, only just won the KFC account from BBH, and they've already sent out their new TV campaign. And it’s extremely convincing.

At least, if you want to convince people not to eat chicken.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a gorgeous wee piece. It’s a film of brassy beats and stylish cinematography. Badass chickens strut their stuff with flair and confidence, full of personality and –

And there’s the problem. You eat a chicken that’s tasty. You eat one that’s deep-fried. You eat one that has eleven herbs and spices and comes with cocaine-laced gravy.

You don’t eat a chicken for its personality. For the most part, we don’t like to eat things that we empathise with.

(Although that does rather raise some questions about Jelly Babies.)

Point is, when I watch that KFC ad I’m on the side of the C. The C is usually balanced with a bit of the KF.

Let’s drill down a bit. The key line used is “The Chicken. The Whole Chicken. And Nothing But The Chicken.” 

So the message is about the quality of KFC’s ingredients.

Although I don’t know if I’d really consider it a selling point in terms of quality if you’re using the “whole chicken”. Brings to mind the old “bits and beaks” worry people have when it comes to McDonald’s.

And in fact, in this spot you only see your badass chicken, with not a hint of the end product in sight. No sandwich, no wrap. Usually in a fast food ad you expect to see some food. Not pre-food.

(Although at least it isn’t post-food. Now that would be something.)

But wait, I hear you cry – isn’t advertising all about being unusual? Getting cut-through by cutting out the obvious and predictable? In that sense, surely there’s nothing wrong with leaving out the trite old packshot. We must think differently.

Well, true. But that requires a bit of thinking. As John Hegarty (ironically enough, the founder of KFC’s previous creative agency) has said, “cool isn’t an idea”. So there needs to be substance. And possibly the realisation that showing a living chicken isn’t very appetising. Feathers don’t make me hungry.

It just screams of thinking that you’re a bit too good to be selling fried chicken. Why sell product when you can be adland edgy and cool? Why sully your funky chicken with a product shot?

Vibrantly alive next to definitely deceased. Perhaps they thought it would be a bit jarring.

Or who knows? Perhaps the CD on the account is a vegetarian.

Take a look here: