Abhishek Chanda

KFC Krushers: Crush, blend, slurp

Kentucky Fried Chicken is back with a new campaign to introduce its beverage line-up, Krushers in the Indian market

Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), a Yum! Restaurants brand, is back with quite a different TV commercial this time. The brand, which has advertised its Chicken bucket and Zinger burgers so far, introduces its new line-up of beverages, Krushers, this time.

However, this time round, the brand has taken a different approach, bordering on the edgy and sensuous, rather than simply telling stories about youngsters discovering and enjoying the taste and experience of KFC products.

Though being on the sensuous side might be among the oldest tricks of the trade, the Indian food and beverages sector has awakened to it fairly recently, not forgetting the Hide and Seek Milano ads or the recent Bourbon ad from Britannia. Internationally, brands like Magnum, Burger King and Hardee's, among others, have been known to take this route.

The creative idea

Titled Pucker, the TVC opens in a KFC store, where a middle-aged man is having his meal. Suddenly, he hears a strange sound and looks up to find a young girl making strange puckering gestures at him. The man is a little taken aback, but the girl continues to pucker at him.

KFC Krushers: Crush, blend, slurp
The ad then breaks into the product window, where we see cookies mixing with milk, milk falling on lips, cocoa beans being ground and ice being crushed. Next, the ingredients are blended together to form the shape of the Krushers tumbler. The film cuts back to show the girl holding a glass of Krushers and taking a long deep sip. The man now understands that the girl was simply enjoying her drink and he smiles. The ad ends with the tagline, 'Really thick, really tasty', as the last shot has a range of Krusher tumblers exploding.

The TVC has been conceived by Ogilvy India's Delhi wing. The creative team comprises Ajay Gahlaut, Shailender Mahajan and Divya Bhatia. The film has been shot by Prakash Varma of Nirvana Films. Mindshare is the media agency for the brand.

KFC Krushers: Crush, blend, slurp
KFC Krushers: Crush, blend, slurp
Unnat Varma, marketing director, KFC India, says, "The brief to the agency was simple. We were introducing the product to the sub-continent and wanted to project it as really thick and tasty, the tonality being edgy and targeted at college-goers and the early working adults. As a result, we wanted to do something different and we are happy that the output has turned out to be so."

When asked if it was a conscious decision to make the film look a bit sensuous, Varma says that the film might be edgy and different, but it has no sexual overtones whatsoever. So much so, he insists that research conducted by them has found that the audience for the brand perceived the film to be contemporary, and not at all vulgar.

Ajay Gahlaut, creative head, Ogilvy Delhi, seconds this opinion, "The product is such that there are bits and pieces of ingredients inside it, which one can chew, taste and savour. We wanted to show how tempting and tasty these ingredients can get, and thus, decided to romance the ingredients."

According to him, things have been done on a very sensory level, keeping a fine balance, so that the film borders on temptation, rather than getting saturated with sexual innuendos.

In fact, there are two aspects to the film, says Varma of KFC -- the product window and the story that unfolds pre and post the product window.

The campaign presently comprises a single TVC and an in-store POS. The TVC will be seen on national and regional youth-centric channels.

Behind the crushing, smashing and slurping

The high point of the TVC lies in its execution. The film rides on extremely short shots throughout -- the technique is often termed as a hip-hop montage, made famous by the likes of Darren Aronofsky, who used it in his films, Pi and Requiem for a Dream, to portray drug use. Coupled with that is the TVC's unique background score.

KFC Krushers: Crush, blend, slurp
The man behind the execution, Prakash Varma of Nirvana reveals that he thought of this style of execution after he tasted the product, and felt that every ingredient of the product needs to be felt through the film. This made him stay away from a polished and simple product window and rather opt for "crushing, blasting and throwing up things".

The shots are mostly tight close-ups, shot with macro lenses, by keeping things on a stand. For detailing each shot and the ingredients, the shots have been taken at a speed of 1200 FPS (frames per second). Normally, these days films are shot at a speed of 25 FPS, while earlier it used to be 24 FPS. Infact, the girl in the film least expected to have chocolate and milk thrown on her face, says Sneha Iype Varma, the executive producer for the film. No computer graphics have been used in the film and it features only the girl, the middle-aged man and the product's ingredients (milk, chocolate, cookies and ice).

The final shot of the film, which has the Krusher glasses exploding, made use of small explosives that were placed inside the glass. Shots like the milk, chocolate and cookies mixing in, had to be shot in 1200 FPS to take care of the detailing, reveals Joel Fonseca, pack shot specialist.

As far as the background score is concerned, Darshan VG, sound engineer, Famous Studios had a clear brief to work on a sound that "wasn't literal, yet something one can sense." He is known for the background score for the Neo Sports (Gas, Rusty Nail and Horror) campaign.

The score has multiple layers in a single sound and is a mix of both digital and foley effects (sound effects that are used to resemble or replace an original sound). For example, Darshan explains, for the shot which has the girl sucking the liquid through the straw, he used a sound effect from a horror movie that had the character crunching on somebody's bones. Later, this sound was processed digitally to fit and describe the shot.

The film has been shot within a budget of Rs 70 lakh.

Anybody slurping?

KFC Krushers: Crush, blend, slurp
KFC Krushers: Crush, blend, slurp
When afaqs! talked about the ad to some from the advertising fraternity, most were of the view that the execution really stood out, while the film hardly had any creative idea.

Nilesh Vaidya, creative director, Euro RSCG, says, "The idea of a woman appearing to give you a come-on, when she's not, is as old as Ericsson mobile phones. So, let's keep the idea aside and focus on the execution."

Though he finds the execution quite different from whatever else is happening in this category, the effects, he says, remind him of the horror film, The Ring. He adds, "I have a strong feeling of 'I've seen this execution somewhere', but all said and done, the TVC will stay in the mind."

Sujay Shetty, director, Whodunit Films finds the crushing, blasting and the high-speed shots impressive, though he feels there's hardly anything on the story front.

He says, "A lot of people have shot films which comprise of detailed singular shots of things getting crushed, thrown or blasted. But what sets this film apart is the way a number of such shots have been edited and put together to make sense, along with a unique soundtrack."