Garfield's AdReview: KFC serves big, fat bucket of nonsense in 'healthy' spots

By Published on .

"KFC what's cookin'?"

KFC who's hallucinatin'!

Having failed to build traffic by claiming, dubiously, to be a "slow-cooked" alternative to fast-food burgers, Yum Brands has now resorted to naked nonsense. The first KFC campaign from Foote Cone & Belding Worldwide, Chicago, positions fried chicken as granola in a bucket.

"Remember how we talked about eating better?" says the wife to her hubby in one spot as she comes in from shopping. "Well, it starts today." Whereupon she presents him not with a pile of alfalfa sprouts or a bowl of kidney beans or a salmon steak, but a bucket of greasy wads of KFC chicken.

Oddly, he does not restrain her and inject her with Thorazine, even though she has clearly lost her grip on reality.

"The secret's out!" the voice-over says. "Two Original Recipe chicken breasts have less fat than a BK Whopper. Or go skinless for 3 grams of fat per piece. ... For a fresh way to eat better, you gotta KFC what's cookin'!"

sleazy tactics

It's not hard to see what prompted such desperate and sleazy tactics. McDonald's seems to be staging a turnaround largely on the strength of its salad entrees, and Subway has exploded by promoting sandwiches so low in fat that poster gourmand Jared used them like diet pills. Whereas historically such fat-reduced items as McLean and Border Lights met only consumer indifference, suddenly health-conscious consumers are demonstrating the willingness to put their money where their arteries are.

So why wouldn't KFC get on the bandwagon?

Well, here's why: because how dare they? Fried chicken is not, never has been and never will be health food. On the contrary, it is a nearly perfect fat conveyance, a sort of poultry Jiffy Lube.

So two pieces have slightly less fat than a Whopper? Swell. A Whopper is a mayonnaise-slathered cardiovascular disaster waiting to happen, with more fat in it than in Jared's former ass. As for going skinless ... who in the world would get a bucket of crispy, batter-dipped fried chicken seasoned with 11 herbs and spices and then peel off the very thing that makes it fried chicken? No earthling, that's for sure.

Look, advertising is allowed to and expected to put its best foot forward. It is not allowed to be misleading. Never mind that the preposterous claim is built on nominal facts; the overriding message about healthful chicken is dangerous baloney.

What's especially maddening is that KFC, to take advantage of the constant drumbeat by the Food Police, doesn't need to take our leg and pullet. There is a huge opportunity in simply acknowledging the low-fat trend and defying it-positioning KFC as a symbol of personal freedom or, for the less militant, at least an occasion for tasty reckless abandon. In fact, it could be the mirror image of the competition's strategy.

MAN: (gnawing on a KFC drumstick) Myum muymmm myumhhh! This is better than sex.

WOMAN: Fried chicken? What about your diet and your four partial coronary blockages?

MAN: Aw, the hell with it. I'm hungry and I'm gonna eat what I want to eat. Besides, I had Subway for lunch.


Foote Cone & Belding Worldwide, Chicago

Ad Review Rating: ZERO STARS

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