KFC makes an apology to forks, knives and sporks

Who: KFC Canada, with Courage for strategy and creative; Spy Films for production (directed by Henry Schofield); post-production by Outsider and Alter Ego; sound by Vapor; and media by Wavemaker.

What: “Sorry, Utensils,” a tongue-in-cheek apology to utensils left unused, unwanted and apparently heartbroken because people don’t need them while eating KFC.

When & Where: The campaign is in market until Sept. 24, running with a 60-second and cutdowns on online and social video, 15s on broadcast, as well as print and out-of-home.

Why: Strategically, this is a straightforward brand campaign to remind consumers of the decades-old brand promise—that KFC’s chicken is finger lickin’ good—but with a playful and fresh approach… no utensils required.

“KFC has been about cooking and serving the world’s best tasting fried chicken from day one, and our incredible taste continues to be what sets us apart around the world,” said Katherine Bond-Debicki, KFC Canada’s chief marketing officer, in a release. “You can’t help but go all in and dig in, no utensils needed, with food so good you can’t help but lick your fingers.”

But this is also just the latest in what has been a steady flow of distinctive, attention-grabbing work from the brand since hiring Courage less than one year ago (including this, this and, most recently, this).

How: The campaign is anchored by a melodramatic 60-second spot consisting of a montage of scenes and scenarios that showcase the KFC menu—from the classic bucket to sandwiches and wrapswith people happily enjoying the food while nearby utensils go untouched. The ad is soundtracked by Air Supply’s heartbreak song “All out of Love.”

The outdoor and print ads, shot by Nikki Ormerod of Undivided, show closeups of people eating KFC reflected in spotless (ie. unused) forks, knives and spoons, and “sorry utensils” over the tagline.

“It’s Finger Lickin’ Good is one of the most famous taglines in the world, which is exciting because it’s so iconic but also a bit intimidating because there have been decades of great ads that have already used it,” said Joel Holtby, co-founder of Courage, in the release. “With this campaign I hope we found a way to bring this very familiar tagline to life in a way that feels fresh and unexpected.”

The spork closeup: The spoon-fork hybrid has been around for more than a century but Colonel Sanders himself is credited with popularizing the spork in the early 1970s, when he made them the go-to utensil for all of his KFC restaurants. Last summer, KFC in the U.S. introduced “Finger sporks”—a tiny spork that slid onto the finger like thimble, and which was described by the chain as “an innovative eating utensil that makes all your KFC favorites (literally) finger lickin’ good.”

David Brown