Why KFC is Telling Us to Stop All that Finger Licking

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Why KFC is Telling Us to Stop All that Finger Licking

Illustration: Mitesh Parmar

When it comes to fast food, most successful brands boast an instantly recognisable slogan. From global giants like McDonalds with “I’m lovin’ it” to homegrown versions like Café Coffee Day’s “A lot can happen over coffee”, the slogan is an integral part of the brand’s identity. Unfortunately for KFC, their famous slogan has left a bad taste in its marketing department’s mouth, as they’ve deemed the “It’s finger lickin’ good” slogan inappropriate in the time of the pandemic.

KFC ran a global campaign announcing that they were temporarily suspending the slogan, saying, “We find ourselves in a unique situation – having an iconic slogan that doesn’t quite fit in the current environment,” in an official statement. The newest campaign – “That thing we’ve been saying for 64 years? Ignore it.” – urges customers to enjoy their KFC meals, without engaging in the customary finger licking. The campaign featured visuals of the brand’s billboards, packaging, and earlier advertisements with the words “finger lickin’” blurred out.

What we’re left with is “It’s… good”, which admittedly doesn’t have the same self-assured swagger that the earlier slogan did. But as far as marketing ploys go, which this ultimately was, it achieved its goal of getting KFC some publicity at a time when restaurants and eateries around the world are struggling to bounce back from the impact of the pandemic. Even a major worldwide chain like KFC had shut down its outlets internationally in March when quarantine measures were announced in many countries. It seems like since returning to business, KFC has taken a look at its famous slogan, and found it wanting.

Of course, KFC worked in a slice of optimism into the campaign, saying that the sooner we embrace the change in the way the world functions, the quicker we can get back to “doing what we do best”, which in their case is licking fingers. And just like that, fast food companies’ slogans have been added to the list of things we wish would just go back to the way they were before the horror show that is 2020.

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