– 2 October 2013

The Ad

KFC is a global brand with a family-focused, everyday food brand promise. Like most fast-food brands, the emphasis is on fun, so most advertising messaging uses humour to create a light-hearted feel.

The latest ad from KFC also manages to sneak in another message: that KFC is also for special occasions.

The ad starts with little Sipho arriving at his grandmother’s house  for a family visit. Sipho is talking to an invisible person called Lewis, but Dad tells Gogo not to worry – “It’s his imaginary friend.” In various ensuing scenes, Sipho is seen playing with Lewis, looking for Lewis, even stopping Gogo from going into the loo, while Lewis is busy in there.

So everyone just plays along, because that’s what families do. Gogo sets a place for Lewis at the table and gives him his own piece of KFC. The punchline comes when Sipho takes Lewis’s piece, explaining that “Lewis isn’t hungry.”

The young boy who plays Sipho is very sweet and pulls off the role convincingly, so hats off to the director for eliciting a great performance.

Viewers may remember a similar concept being done in the USA, where the dad inadvertently runs the mower over his daughter’s imaginary friend, and the only thing that cheers her up is an ice-cream cone from KFC. I think this is an improvement on the concept, because it sets the story in the context of a nuclear family.

It’s a warm, feel-good ad with endearing characters and a story that’s cute without being cloying. The overall message of the ad is very smart, because there is a very “warm, fuzzy” mood to the ad; a sense of caring and kindness; so it’s a scenario that is associated with love and being at home. Nothing says “home” quite like a family meal with Gogo.

By inserting itself into this everyday narrative, KFC has also attached all those qualities to its brand; so instead of the negative connotations one might have of “fast food”, KFC is part of this special occasion. On top of that is the feel-good factor created by the story of the cute little boy and his imaginary friend.

The ad was conceptualised and produced by Ogilvy South Africa, and the creative team was led by creative director Mike Martin, with art direction by Marion Bryan and copy by Tessa Weakly.