‘Finger Lickin’ Bad’: KFC ad campaign faces the chop

KFC_2KFC is facing a major headache over its latest “Finger Lickin’ Good” ad campaign, which features a host of customers licking the “secret recipe ingredients” off their fingers in time to Chopin’s Nocturne op. 9 No 2, following concerns over the spread of coronavirus.

The TV campaign, which launched just over a fortnight ago, is supported by “Finger Lickin’ Etiquette” online activity, as well as outdoor executions. It was devised by Mother, with media through Mindshare.

But the TV work has already been replaced in some spots by a reprise of the Godfather-inspired Chicken Town, which follows “the Colonel” being driven down a typical UK high street in a red sedan, surveying the host of pretenders to the KFC throne.

The ad is still running on KFC’s YouTube channel but the future of thousands of posters which are already in place is not known; the online activity appears to have disappeared already.

KFC’s press office, which is run by Freuds, has yet to return Decision Marketing‘s request for comment.

A KFC spokesperson said:  “Our marketing team are aware of the dislike and concern with our ad, and this is being handled by them.”

However. even at the time of launch, Decision Marketing‘s Creative Review column questioned whether, given the seriousness of coronavirus, the campaign should be running at all. The Government’s advice on preventing the spread of the disease has always been to refrain from touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

Even so, KFC marketing manager for UK & Ireland Dhiren Karnani was carrying on regardless. At the time, he said: “KFC is truly finger lickin’ good, and this campaign will re-ignite the meaning back into the phrase we all know and grew up with.”

One industry source said: “It is difficult to see how this campaign can run at this time. If KFC don’t pull the plug then they look like they are ignoring coronavirus concerns. They’d be better off coming clean and saying, sorry we screwed up.”

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