…but the timing’s all wrong.

12Mar2020
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KFC Pause 'Finger Lickin' Good' Ad Campaign

Following Complaints it Encourages the Spread of COVID-19

KFC has pressed pause on an ad campaign, designed to highlight their ‘Finger Lickin’ Good’ strapline, following the World Health Organisation’s declaration that COVID-19 is now at ‘pandemic’.

Unfortunate Timing

163 people have complained to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) about KFC’s unfortunately timed ‘Finger Lickin’ Good’ campaign, according to The Drum. The ads, which launched two weeks ago, came as public health organisations around the globe continue to stress the importance of hand-washing to combat the rapid spread of Coronavirus.

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In a statement, KFC confirmed it has now halted the nationwide marketing drive.

A spokesperson for the brand said: “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.”

Chopin’s Nocturne op.9 No.2 played over the ad, which showed a montage of diners licking KFC off their fingers. The classical melody was punctuated by one final slurp on an index finger.

Hundreds of people contacted the advertising watchdog, complaining that the ad from Mother London was “irresponsible”. Claims included that the ads encourage the spread of COVID-19. According to The Drum, the ASA is currently assessing the complaints and no investigation has been launched at this stage.

This is far from the brand’s first brush with the advertising watchdog. Famed for its creative work, KFC took the crown for the most complained about ad of 2017.

The KFC ad campaign showed a chicken dancing and sashaying around a barn to X Gon’ Give It To Ya by DMX in the style of a 90s rap music video. It provoked outrage on the basis it was “distressing” and “disrespectful”. 755 people complained about it to the ASA, but it was decided there were no grounds to investigate it.