KFC has decided to stop telling fans to lick their fingers – admitting its 60-year-old “It’s finger lickin’ good” slogan isn’t really what we need in the middle of a pandemic.
The fast-food chain said Colonel Sanders’ famous slogan “doesn’t quite fit” the current environment of uncertainty and increased hygiene created by the coronavirus.
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“We find ourselves in a unique situation – having an iconic slogan that doesn’t quite fit in the current environment,” KFC global chief marketing officer Catherine Tan-Gillespie Tan-Gillespie said.
Fans should not despair, however. The slogan is merely parked until we can put COVID-19 behind us, and KFC expects to resume using it “when the time is right”.
The fried chicken chain had already back-stepped from the marketing. In March, it abandoned an advertising campaign in which customers were seen licking their fingers – although the slogan stayed.
This week, KFC has gone further. Although it maintained to The NY Post that the enduring catchphrase ultimately wasn’t going anywhere.
Brands change with the times
KFC is far from the only big name to realise that marketing push is no longer fit for the times.
In 2020 alone, a host of companies have altered or renamed themselves in line with the Black Lives Matter movement amid consumer pressure.
In the US National Football League, the ‘Redskins’ changed their name after years of pressure from sponsors.
The temporary replacement – the Washington Football Team – is a bit uninspired and has come in for some teasing. But the franchise still clearly felt it was better than copping criticism for a name considered offensive to Native Americans.
(The former Redskins are still taking submissions for their new permanent rebrand.)
Closer to home, Nestle said in June it would rename two classic lollies it considered “out of step” with the 21st century.
Red Skins and Chicos were to get new names, the company said. It said it would “move quickly” on the rebrand – although that is still to be announced.
Also in June, the owner of Eskimo Pie said the near-century-old ice-cream bar would get a new name and look.
“We are committed to being a part of the solution on racial equality, and recognise the term is derogatory,” Elizabell Marquez, head of marketing for the sweet treat’s owner Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream said.
“This move is part of a larger review to ensure our company and brands reflect our people values.”
Cheese has also been shaken up in 2020, with the Canadian owner of the Coon brand declaring a name change was a necessary step towards ‘eliminating racism’.