Adwatch: KFC is the cheery antithesis of Trivago

KFC's "The whole chicken" took nerve to do but is inspiring and joyful, writes J. Walter Thompson's group planning director Alice Schaffer.

Fabulous advertising makes my heart sing - smart and surprising, it provokes a reaction; makes us feel something; stays with us.

If only there was more of it about. Instead, depressingly often, the ads that get made are unambitious, unimaginative, conventional as currently exemplified by Trivago.

It’s disruptive.  It's cheeky.  It won't appeal to vegetarians - but then it wasn't designed to

But every so often, against this rather bleak backdrop of mediocrity, a brilliant piece of communication jumps out, bringing me inspiration and filling me with chicken dancing joy.

To which one of the most cheering things I’ve seen in a while is Mother’s new film for KFC.

It takes rare nerve to promote your fried chicken pieces by featuring a real chicken strutting its funky stuff, followed by bold type paraphrasing the famous oath:  'The chicken. The whole chicken. And nothing but the chicken.'  And branded with nothing but three red letters: KFC.

And to pull off a strategy this daring requires an equally ambitious execution.

The star of "The whole chicken" is no ordinary chicken. It's a catwalk-worthy beauty of a beast.  As it parades about an atmospherically lit warehouse, DMX’s ‘X Gon’ Give It To Ya’ provides the beat for it to swagger to.

Cinematically shot, with an attention to detail that oozes quality – the straw in the beak, the ruffling feathers, the wink at the end – this film's craftsmanship imbues KFC with quality in a way that would be difficult, if not impossible, to make a case for rationally.

It’s disruptive.  It's cheeky.  It won't appeal to vegetarians - but then it wasn't designed to.  Its confident, singular focus reclaims KFC's ownership of chicken in the face of competition from burger and sandwich chains.  The rascally reference to its chicken being nothing but chicken implicitly justifies the brand's price premium over other fast food chicken joints.  And its irreverent tone will surely play well with KFC's audience.

Thank you KFC for resisting the urge to show us a bucket of chicken being enjoyed by ‘ordinary’ people in a KFC restaurant, served up with a well-observed slice-of-modern-life.  Thank you for saying no to bland-vertising and yes to an exuberant, audacious celebration of your brand.

Tv ads launching 3rd - 30th july 2017 Recall (prompted advertising awareness)


Adwatch prompted advertising-awareness research was conducted by TNS as part of its twice-weekly OnLineBus omnibus among 1000 adults aged 16-64. For details of the survey, contact (020 7656 5890). Ads were compiled by Ebiquity (020 7650 9700) and MEC (020 7803 2000).

With Thanks To


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