When KFC, one of the world's most popular fast-food chains, decided to run a campaign to remind its customers in the UK and Ireland what the brand was all about, it made sure to catch people's eyeballs with its ad. But, would the campaign have worked with other audiences, especially the ones in India?
Ever since KFC opened its doors in 1952, it has grown to become a major player in the fast-food industry. And along with the brand, its catchphrase 'Finger Lickin' Good' has reverberated all across the world.
Mother, a creative agency from London, England decided to make this catchphrase come alive in the ad. With a reworked version of Chopin’s Nocturne op. 9 No.2 playing in the background, we see diners at KFC relishing the juicy and tender chicken. And then to top it off, the diners then lick their fingers to make sure they get the last of those 11 secret herbs and spices used in the making of the chicken, and enacting out KFC's catchphrase in a literal fashion.
The ad garnered eyeballs for its evocative shots of people licking their fingers. But, would the same ad, if released in India, have garnered a similar response? Maybe not. After all, eating with our hands and then licking our fingers after a meal has been a tradition in this country for ages. If the same ad hit India, nobody would have batted an eyelid.
This observation of ours came from the fact that the brands with a global presence, KFC in this case, have to ensure their research is full-proof. An accepted culinary practice in one country could actually be considered foul or offensive in another. For instance, the hand motion for 'do you want to eat food' in India isn't the most appropriate one to use in Italy. Brands always need to keep an eye out on how their ads work in a certain region.
Going back to the KFC ad, we asked two experts to give their take on the ad and the response it would have garnered in India.
Dipti Rode, creative director, What's Your Problem
It's said that actions speak louder than words. That's why this ad says a lot even without saying a word. What sets it apart from any other food commercial is that they have not tried to show how tempting the food is, but the emotion that their food invokes. They have also shown people from different ethnicities and walks of like enjoying the food just as much. Thus proving the age-old saying that there is no bigger love than the love for food. Also KFC, McDonald's and Burger King all are 'finger foods', i.e., they are eaten with hands only around the world. You generally don't have a burger or chicken wings with a fork and spoon, or a fork and knife.
Rasika Fernandes, head of planning, McCann Worldgroup
Eating with hands is part of our culture and integral to the joy of food. Which is why Finger Lickin' Good was never the message of the ad and was only always used as an executional element. So, while in the west, eating with hands and enjoying your food unabashedly using your fingers would stand out, in India, it wouldn't raise any eyebrows.