KFC plans more ‘emotional’ ads to drive engagement

KFC says it is to take a more “emotional” approach in its advertising in an attempt to drive deeper engagement with customers. 

Marketing chief David Timm will oversee KFC’s new ‘narrative-led’ ads.

The chicken shop chain has favoured a product led approach in its advertising featuring meal combinations and menu innovations. In the past year, it has also added a food provenance message in the wake of the horsemeat scandal highlighting the British origin of its chicken.

In a statement announcing plans to open 150 restaurants over the next five years with the creation of 6,000 jobs, the brand says: “This year will also see KFC looking at new ways of engaging with consumers, with the company’s advertising taking a more emotional and narrative-driven approach.” A spokeswoman for KFC declined to offer further information. 

The strategy will be overseen by David Timm, who was appointed as vice president for marketing for the UK and Ireland in September. Timm, who has worked client and agency side with companies including SABMiller and Leo Burnett, has a reputation for overseeing narrative-led brand campaigns for KFC and is credited with helping to win its first Cannes Lions award with 2013’s “Journey of Hope” ad – a South African film that told the story of adventurer Riaan Manser’s trek across country.

KFC took a more playful approach in its Christmas ad last year. Instead of its usual message targeting families tired of cooking, it ran a spot poking fun at Christmas pop song clichés. 

The chain is also hoping the three-part documentary that is scheduled to run on BBC 1 later this year and promises “a unique, top-to-bottom look” at its business will also increase engagement.

More than £20m is to be invested this year in opening 32 of the 150 stores. It will also spend  £40m modernising 220 restaurants. 

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