Tony Lyons President & Chief Strategy Officer



A Recipe for Seduction or Salmonella? An Opinion on KFC’s New Mini-Movie

Their gaze entangles through a forest of strangers. Trapped like animals, they struggle to break away, impossibly ensnared. Silently, in lockstep, they rhythmically reach for a drumstick. And they devour it, savouring the visceral juices trickling down their chins.

Yep, nothing says romance like a bucket of greasy fried chicken. Who knew the dirty bird would make its way into entertainment? Will 2020 ever stop surprising us?

Now, I’m not judging how or where people get their freak on – it’s a free and open society – but when I saw the trailer for Kentucky Fried Chicken’s new advertainment effort, A Recipe for Seduction, it was more WTF than KFC. My first reaction was to check the date – but April has long passed. So yes, this is a real thing.

Obviously, KFC isn’t the first brand to embrace entertainment as a way to connect with its customers (see: BMW, Lego, Red Bull, and Procter and Gamble, to name a few). Hundreds of brands have moved from traditional advertising to a longer form of storytelling. In this case, it’s a 15-minute mini-movie.

Who knows how this attempt will unfold? The internet can be a cruel place where everybody has an opinion and everybody is a marketing expert (insert rolling-eye emoji). But there’s a fine line between genius and madness – so maybe, just maybe, this thing will take off. KFC, after all, is a massive global brand, and I’ve no doubt it’s done its research; it’s not unimaginable, after all, to think of a buff Mario-Lopez-as-Colonel-Sanders appealing to the brand’s audience. That said, in my humble opinion, it’ll take some dumb luck and remarkable execution for this one to sizzle.

What I do know, with relative certainty after a career in advertising, is that brands that stand still get run over. Content is here to stay, and even what we know today as content will be different in a few years. We should all, as marketers, be constantly looking to our audiences’ changing behaviours to ensure we continue to serve their best interests – today and tomorrow. And, regardless of the medium, a good story will always win. It’s just that now that story doesn’t have to be 30 seconds long.

Now, where’s that bucket of chicken?