The new KFC campaign is not horrible and that’s saying a lot

You know, we spend a lot of time admiring the amazing. The fraction of 1% of work within our industry that achieves a kind of pop-culture transcendence. And for good reason. But sometimes we should also recognize the miracle of merely not failing.

The new KFC ad campaign, “How Do You KFC,” is not going to win any awards, it’s not being featured in AdWeek, it’s probably not even going to spend very much time in the personal portfolios of the creatives responsible. But it’s not bad. In spite of the box you’re in any time you do promotion-driven TV for a QSR brand, it’s kind of pretty good for what it is. The selfie-video technique was done well. The script felt natural and off-the-cuff (the agency had cast comedy improv actors and gave them freedom to riff). The quips weren’t riotously funny or mind-bendingly surreal in the manner of the Old Spice or DirecTV spots we’re used to sharing and retweeting, but they were cute and didn’t fall flat. And the product was featured in an unintrusive way. I’m sure the brief said something like “Show real people enjoying the food, show a lot of the food, mention the name of the promo item as many times as possible.” There’s not a lot of space inside that strategy for greatness. We can learn as much from the improbably pretty-good as we can from the breathtakingly great.

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