KFC’s ‘whole chicken’ is back, and the Christmas turkeys had better watch out

Mother caused an outrage with its first ad for KFC, which upset people by reminding them that KFC’s hot wings and popcorn chicken come from actual birds.

The Advertising Standards Authority threw out 480 complaints against the “Whole Chicken” ad last summer, but the controversy still cowed KFC into taking a different route, concentrating on the bucket instead of the bird. The subsequent success of the “FCK” ad apologizing for distribution cock-ups seems to have given KFC the confidence to return to its original strategy.

This distinctly unfestive chicken has escaped from the barn and is prowling across a snowy landscape, just like Clint Eastwood prowls across the Wild West in “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.” (The ad and the film share the same Ennio Morricone soundtrack.)

When the chicken finally meets its enemy, there’s a brief stand off; it takes only a murderous stare to make the turkey skulk away, defeated. The endline is: “Turkey comes and goes, but chicken’s here to stay.”

Monica Pool, marketing director of KFC, said: “We close our restaurants on the 25th allowing turkey to have its moment in the sun. Every other day of the year, you needn’t worry, KFC will be there.”

As well as this film, which is showing on TV and in cinemas, there are, press, outdoor and online executions that continue the theme of disrespecting the Christmas turkey, with messages like, “The trick to enjoying Christmas turkey? Lowering your expectations” and “Best of luck with the turkey this Christmas.”

MAA creative scale: 8 (as long as you’re not squeamish)

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About Emma Hall

Emma Hall is a journalist and editorial consultant and is the former Europe Editor of Ad Age, where she covered European marketing advertising, digital and media stories. She has written for newspapers including the Financial Times, The Guardian, The Times and the Telegraph, and was previously a section editor at Campaign. Emma started her career in New York as a researcher for a biography of Keith Richards.