Why KFC censored half of its slogan

KFC ignored industry advice to play it safe amid Covid-19 and stuck to an approach that would pull on its brand story.

KFC’s 64-year-old slogan is known all over the world, so when the fast food chain was forced to close all of its doors due to Covid-19 it needed to find a new way to stay salient at a time where ‘Finger Lickin’ was against the advice of medical professionals and felt inappropriate.

Ignoring industry advice to “play it safe”, KFC and creative agency partner Mother London went for a “brand out” approach that would pull on KFC’s brand story, and decided to blur out its most iconic global asset instead.

Cue ‘It’s __ __ Good’, KFC’s first global marketing campaign that would go on to boost the brand’s word of mouth by 3,842% and win KFC the 2021 Marketing Week Masters award for PR and Brand Storytelling.

The campaign announcement was treated like a major public information campaign. KFC went hard, eager to reach as many people as quickly as possible; the brand was public about it so people knew they were seeing what everyone was seeing; and KFC used retargeting and personal media to remind people of, and to reinforce and extend, the campaign.

KFC ramped up engagement by pixelating the lines on huge images of KFC buckets and replacing them with crowd-sourced suggestions for alternatives. Meanwhile known brand fans such as Professor Green, Chris Stark and Emma Louise Connolly were asked to involve their followers in helping them come up with a new tagline, which went out for public vote on KFC’s social channels.

The campaign was covered in 97 countries and received over 2 billion impressions globally. It achieved over 600 pieces of media coverage in the UK alone, reaching 83% of UK adults across national, broadcast, consumer and regional titles, while influencer partnerships and the new slogans generated just under 7 million impressions with an average engagement rate of 4.31%.

All without KFC using its slogan once.



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