KFC sees the future in the past and it’s finger lickin’ good.
The Yum-owned fast food chain has just launched a new platform that celebrates the roots of the brand and the human connections that can be formed and strengthened over shared comfort food.
The new positioning was introduced Monday with a 60-second TV spot, titled “New Kid,” showing a young immigrant boy finding his place in Canada through hockey and KFC shared in a locker room after his first practice. A two-minute version of the ad was also posted online.
The spot isn’t just about the food, but about the common ground people often find themselves on by sharing the food, said Stephen Scarrow, KFC senior marketing manager, advertising and media. “What ‘New Kid’ demonstrates is that comfort food is the equalizer that makes the kid feel comfortable in the locker room.”
The new platform in Canada comes amidst a larger global “always original” repositioning that puts a renewed emphasis on the roots of the KFC brand story, said Scarrow. The shift includes a return to a very familiar tagline, “Finger lickin’ good” which had been abandoned for “So good” in 2011. “For many consumers they still associate KFC with ‘Finger lickin’ good,’” said Scarrow.
Each market was asked to take that “always original” branding cornerstone and adapt it for their home country. Working with its creative agency Grip, KFC concluded that harkening back to the brand’s connections to an “original recipe,” Colonel Sanders and fried chicken as comfort food overlapped with most Canadians’ appreciation for originality, real and authentic stories. It resonates with both older consumers and younger, millennial consumers who have shown affinity for authentic products that stay true to original roots, said Scarrow. “We are the founding fathers of the fried chicken movement and Colonel Sanders is the original celebrity chef.”
Almost all Canadians can recall a memorable occasion with family or friends where a bucket of KFC sat in the middle of the table, added Bob Goulart, Grip creative director. “And that is really powerful.” Goulart developed the campaign with his partner Dave Hamilton.
Using that underlying brand truth as the foundation for the campaign, Grip set out to tell genuine, human stories about the special moments when people have enjoyed KFC.
“This is a big leap for KFC,” said Goulart. Much of the recent KFC advertising and communications has been focused on retail and offers—which certainly won’t disappear—and when brand work in the category is done it generally relies on obvious jokes. “What we have maybe lost sight of a little bit is to try to connect with the consumer about what this food means to them,” he said. “And sometimes those stories aren’t funny, sometimes those stories are heartfelt.”
The immigrant story also made perfect sense for KFC Canada because immigration has long been a defining narrative in Canada—a story that people know themselves or through a friend or neighbour.
“It felt like a very genuine story that so many people in this country could relate to and then KFC is brought in as the common ground to signify arrival and fitting in,” said Goulart.
The campaign will go beyond TV to a “real 360 push,” said Scarrow. A social video focused on a girls peewee hockey team is coming soon, there will be YouTube masthead takeover, and a social push that asks consumers to share their stories about the brand, even the packaging will change with a return of the traditional red-striped bucket.
The “New Kid” spot was shot by Corner Store’s director Jorn Haagen, whose reel includes the award-winning Sumo spot for Subaru a few years back.