KFC’S Finger-lickin’ Epic: You’ll Believe a Spork Can Cry
Our sincerest apologies to utensils everywhere
You can’t keep a good slogan down. Over a decade ago, KFC tried to drop “Finger Lickin’ Good” in favor of a less flavorsome alternative. (“So Good” was the not-quite-as-memorable choice). In 2020 they put their distinctive slogan back where it belonged – only for COVID-19 to make consumers wary of anything with even a hint of the unhygienic. It was another year before the slogan came back to KFC campaigns.
This month, KFC Canada showed what an asset “Finger Lickin’ Good” is, with a new advert which leans into not just the slogan but the concept behind it and which has already won huge adland acclaim. “Sorry, Utensils” is exactly what you’d think it is – a tongue-in-cheek apology to all the unused forks, knives, sporks and spoons KFC customers have shunned in order to eat their meals the way the Colonel intended.
There are some lovely out-of-home executions in the campaign from agency Courage but the centerpiece is the video ad, which is played absolutely deadpan for very comic effect – all the manipulative techniques of the film-maker’s art aimed at making viewers feel sorry for an abandoned spork. (In fact, the ad does this so well that we see peaks of actual sadness from some respondents). Meanwhile the shots of food and eating are outrageously sensuous – it’s a gloriously over the top ad, capped off by an equally epic soundtrack, Air Supply’s soft rock monster “I’m Outta Love”.
On Test Your Ad, “Sorry, Utensils” gets a 3.7-Star rating. That’s good, but not exceptional – licking fingers and messy eating really does put some viewers off, it seems. But the ad truly shines when we look at its short-term Spike and Brand Fluency measures – predicting sales lift and exploring how many people recognize the brand.
Spike and Brand Fluency for “Sorry, Utensils” are both exceptional – in fact, the ad scores 100% Brand Fluency, meaning every single person we showed it to knew it was for KFC within a few seconds. That’s rare enough to be very impressive, and helps drive the exceptional Spike rating. Brand Fluency on its own can’t predict short-term sales lifts – recognition has to be combined with emotional intensity to drive that boost.
But if you’ve got an ad where literally everyone knows the brand – and that ad is so creatively bold and well-executed that it sparks intense emotions, whether good or bad… then you’re looking at an ad which can push sales higher. The sheer level of conversation and acclaim around “Sorry, Utensils” tells us KFC and Courage have got this one licked.