The Yum Brands Inc owned chain, which has been using the slogan for almost 64 years now said that the messaging will return “when the time is right”
Global quick service restaurant chain Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) has announced that it will temporarily suspend its Finger Lickin’ Good ad slogan, deeming it unfit in the context of the Covid-19 crisis — as personal hygiene has become a top priority. “We find ourselves in a unique situation – having an iconic slogan that doesn’t quite fit in the current environment,” Catherine Tan-Gillespie, global chief marketing officer, KFC said. Yum Brands Inc owned chain, which has been using the slogan for 64 years now said that the messaging will return “when the time is right.”
Acknowledging the situation, the company also released a global campaign showcasing KFC posters and packaging with the slogan blurred and pixelated. “That thing we always say? Ignore it for now,” the campaign said, highlighting a censored version of the chain’s tagline. Industry experts believe that companies today are dealing with a very proactive consumer hence, it is important to react to an evolving market and societal sentiment. “With the move, KFC has demonstrated a deep sensitivity to an overall societal sentiment making it the right step for the brand,” Arijit Ray, co-founder and managing partner, Paperboat Brandworks said.
Further, movements like these are expected to help companies in creating long-term affiliation with consumers. According to Ketan Desai, chief operating officer, GREY group India, brands that acknowledge their environment and react appropriately will be seen as progressive and will earn a lot of social currency in times like these. For Titus Upputuru, national creative director, Dentsu One and creative head, Taproot Dentsu, Gurugram, even as a tagline may not impact consumers directly, companies need to take due diligence in choosing what they are putting out there.
Interestingly, KFC is not the only brand to have adapted to changing consumer sentiments. Recently, consumer goods giant Unilever, too, changed the name of their skin care brand ‘Fair & Lovely’ to ‘Glow & Lovely’ following a social media backlash amid the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Even as both the situations can’t be compared — at some level it does draw attention to the fact brands can no longer afford to ignore situations and consumer sentiments. PepsiCo owned Quaker Oats too announced that it would retire Aunt Jemima from its packaging. As per Harish Bijoor, brand strategy specialist and founder, Harish Bijoor Consults Inc, it is extremely important for brands to emote with consumers, be in sync with their needs, desires, aspirations, good health and well-being.