Hugging, shaking hands and touching your face are just a few habits that are now cancelled (okay, discouraged) thanks to Covid-19. And KFC has now added finger licking to the list by wiping out its well-known tagline, 'Finger Lickin' Good', in an attempt to keep its customer base healthy and safe.
After over 60 years of use on some of the biggest ads in the world, 'Finger Lickin' Good' is no more – temporarily at least (see here for more examples of brilliant billboard advertising). After suspending the well-known campaign at the beginning of the pandemic due to concerns over normalising images of people licking their fingers, KFC has now released a series of advertising imagery with the tagline blurred out (see below).
KFC has not released a new slogan, leaving us to wonder how long the strategy of blurring can go on for. If the pandemic is set to continue for the foreseeable future, will there ever be a good time to unblur? If not, a new slogan will have to be introduced, which will be quite a challenge given the gravitas of the original.
People are pretty confused by the decision, with responses wondering why licking your own fingers is a bad thing – after all, it's not like KFC have been asking you to lick someone else's fingers for all of these years, or at least not overtly.
I have to ask- were customers expanding their licking beyond their own fingers? Roaming from table to table offering to lick other customers’ fingers?August 24, 2020
Emma Richardson suggested a potential amendment to the tagline with "but keep those fingers to yourself!" (below). But the KFC social media team reasoned their way out of that idea with an amusing response:
Yeah but when you're paying by the letter. It's why my dad would never let my brother get Van Nistelrooy on the back of his Utd shirt.August 24, 2020
We do understand that social norms need to be challenged to get us through these weird times, and being encouraged to lick our fingers when in a public space is the opposite of current health advice. Even when there's chicken involved.
KFC is famously good at rolling with the punches when it comes to adapting its advertising strategy for current events, as it showed with its post lockdown KFC ad campaign, and its Valentine's Day card promotion. We wonder which direction the Colonel will take in the future.