A Kentucky Fried Chicken advertising campaign that ruffled feathers in Britain has been pulled because of concerns that it was sending the wrong message while the world is battling the coronavirus.
The advertisement shows a series of KFC customers eating with their fingers in public places, and when they are done consuming the legendary blend of 11 herbs and spices, they lick their fingers.
The ad campaign, which began last month in the United Kingdom and Ireland, is set to Frederic Chopin’s Nocturne, Op.9, No.2.
But timing is everything, and to many people in Britain, this was the wrong ad at the wrong time.
Hi @kfc @KFC_UKI you should consider pulling your ads which show people licking their fingers, as per this one on the @TfL Tube. It’s NOT good to lick fingers during the Coronavirus pandemic. pic.twitter.com/sQL80P5Tms
— John Slinger (@JohnSlinger) March 12, 2020
“KFC couldn’t have chosen a worse time to launch a commercial that consists of people licking their fingers for a minute straight.” https://t.co/MIho3ndpvN
— Tim Morris (@tmorris504) March 13, 2020
Britain’s Advertising Standards Authority logged 163 complaints, Fox News reported.
Some thought the reaction went a bit too far.
On the grounds that few successful companies make much money going head-on into a barrage of consumer complaints, KFC decided to hit the pause button on the campaign.
“Things can’t get dumber”
“It doesn’t feel like the right time to be airing this campaign, so we’ve decided to pause it for now — but we’re really proud of it and look forward to bringing it back at a later date,” KFC said in a statement, according to The Drum.
It’s finger lickin’ good just don’t lick your fingers.
KFC’s decision to pull the ad eliminated the need for the British board to assess the question.
At the time the ad campaign began, Dhiren Karnani, KFC’s marketing manager for Britain and Ireland, said, “KFC is truly finger lickin’ good, and this campaign will reignite the meaning back into the phrase we all know and grew up with,” according to The Independent.
The slogan was first used back in 1956, according to the New York Post.
Hershey has stopped running ads in which people hand chocolate bars to one another, accompanied by handshakes and hugs.
“Sadly, we have decided to temporarily replace two of our ads that feature human interaction, that include hugging and handshakes, due to the current sensitivities surrounding the COVID-19 virus,” Hershey Co. chief marketing officer Jill Baskin said in a statement.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.