KFC's New "Finger Lickin' Good" Campaign is Slammed for Being Racially Insensitive [Photos + Video]

KFC attempted to put a fresh spin on its ‘finger lickin’ good’ tagline with new campaign.

via: Revolt

The new KFC campaign being run in Canada has sparked a flurry of criticism on Twitter after photos of billboards were deemed racially insensitive. The global restaurant chain has long used its slogan, “It’s finger lickin’ good,” and in the new advertisement, the company utilizes a witty attempt at proving it.

Azim Akhtar, the director of marketing for KFC Canada, excitedly shared images that depicted the reflections of two Black men and a woman of color in silverware as they ate chicken and licked their fingers. “Sorry, utensils. It’s finger lickin’ good. Latest campaign, I couldn’t be more proud!” he tweeted on Aug. 24.

The marketing effort was applauded by many for creatively playing off the slogan, which dates back to the 1950s. But Black people in particular expressed disappointment, criticizing KFC for approving a marketing plan that perpetuated racist stereotypes.

“This is why it’s important for marketers/advertisers to study art history and historic ad campaigns. The print ad vs. the video came across as a caricature display of Black people. A picture is worth a thousand words. Nah, this was a miss,” wrote one person. Another individual said the fast-chicken supplier was “bringing minstrel tropes and fried chicken back in style.”

Akhtar took notice of the scrutiny and attempted to extinguish any hard feelings by sharing the full video advertisement. In it, a cast of white, Black, Asian, old, and young people of various walks of life are shown eating fried chicken as silverware goes unused and plastic cutlery is thrown by the wayside — reiterating that the food is “finger lickin’ good.”

“My earlier post didn’t capture the full diversity of our latest campaign, and I personally apologize for not being more thoughtful in my excitement to share the campaign and only sharing certain photos. Here is the 60-second spot that is more representative of Canada’s diversity and our creative,” wrote Akhtar. Still, his explanation was met with frustration.

“You being the director of marketing, sharing multiple gigantic billboards with Black folks eating fried chicken, licking their fingers, is simply not it. No matter how diverse you feel this ad is,” said one person. Another tweeter suggested KFC and Akhtar use the misstep as a teachable moment.

View the video advertisement below as well as some reactions from social media.

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