‘We’re back’: KFC launches tongue-in-cheek ad as it reopens for delivery

KFC wanted to do “something a bit different” to the wave of coronavirus-related ads that have launched in the past few weeks as it aims to ensure its comms are “grounded in who we are”.

KFC is launching a campaign to announce it “is back” as it reopens its restaurants for delivery and takeaway following the UK lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The fast food chain is beginning a gradual reopening of 500 restaurants with an ad that promises customers it has “missed them too”.

The video uses images from customers who have attempted to recreate KFC during quarantine with varying degrees of success. The campaign kicks off with a tongue-in-cheek TV commercial, created by Mother, where people’s photographs of their efforts is played alongside the soundtrack of All By Myself by Celine Dion.

The images have been taken from its #RateMyKFC social media campaign, which encouraged people to make their own versions of its chicken wings dish and post them on social for the brand to critique. It has garnered hundreds of tweets and an engagement rate of 101% among its followers over the past six weeks.

The ad ends with KFC reassuring consumers that “we’ve missed you too” but says the chain will “take it from here” when it comes to producing fried chicken.

KFC UK & Ireland marketing director, Jack Hinchliffe, tells Marketing Week: “This shows the length our fans have gone to to recreate KFC at home, some better than others, but the end result is we are saluting their efforts. We wanted to let our fans know we’re back and they can put the fryers down and leave it to us.”

Mother conducted research before creating the campaign to understand how consumers are responding to advertising. It found that people have “had enough empathy from advertising”, Hinchcliffe says.

People have had enough empathy from advertising.

Jack Hinchcliffe, KFC

He explains: “There is a lot of beautiful work pulling on those deep universal truths around connection and belonging, but we knew we wanted to do something different and a bit more [grounded in] who we are.”

KFC is joining other fast food chains including McDonald’s and Burger King in reopening after being forced to shut due to coronavirus. It plans to reopen more than 500 of its 900 branches across the UK and Ireland by the end of this week in a phased launch.

The restaurants will offer a limited menu available to order on Deliveroo, Just Eat and Uber Eats, with the KFC website detailing which sites are open. The smaller menu will help smaller kitchen teams maintain social distancing, while stringent processes and hygiene measures are in place.

Hinchliffe concludes: “The safety of our staff is and will always be our main priority.”