KFC latest UK ad campaign, created by BBH London, makes bold use of type and design. The posters draw on the recent new identity for the brand, created by Grand Army in New York, and pair it with some provocative use of text: in one ad, the brand’s key phrase ‘it’s finger lickin’ good’ is presented partly redacted, suggesting that it means, well, something else.
The campaign follows a recent trend in fast-food branding – from KFC and McDonald’s to new upstarts Five Guys and Shake Shack – for simple styling and ‘authenticity’, a subject explored in depth in a recent article for CR by Silas Amos. For the older brands, this has involved reaching back into their history.
Of KFC’s rebranding by Grand Army, Amos writes: “Basically the design has stripped back, flattened the colours and re-introduced the stripes of the original packaging. In doing so it has achieved a look at once more contemporary and yet also vintage – ‘cooler’, even. The revamp boldly draws on authentic roots, and feels much more charismatic than the overly fussy and forgettable design it replaced.”
Most of the new UK ads lead with type only (with only one, shown above, featuring a new burger). The decision to shift the focus to the brand’s history is deliberate, according to BBH strategist Lucian Trestler. “The fast food category is undergoing a major shift,” he says. “With the introduction of delivery aggregators and the continued growth of fast casual restaurants, cutting through the vast amount of food photography has never been more critical. That’s why KFC have drawn on their most famous assets: the Colonel, It’s Finger Looking’ Good, and American heritage combined with a bold tone of voice to define a new visual identity.”
In other words, with food imagery plastered all over sites such as Instagram (perhaps looking more appealing than KFC too), KFC is instead opting to use design, typography and its history (alongside the odd picture of its juicy burgers) to stand out in an extremely crowded market.
Agency: BBH London
Creatives: Hamish Pinnell, Martha Riley
Photographer: Dan Matthews
Design: Christian Tunstall, Niek Van Den Wingerden