We can’t believe we’re saying this, but Christmas is coming. As is tradition, the mulled wine meetings have started, the Christmas shopping has not, and the Yuletide ads (our favourite part) are pouring in. As the end of the year nears, we’ve started reflecting on what brands have done brilliantly this year, and our first award goes to the nation’s favourite chicken shop: KFC. We love the way this brand has spoken to its customers with bold candor in 2018, tackling the issues that people actually care about head-on, and doing so with a wonderful combination of refreshing transparency and charming humour.

Here are three of our favourite moments from the last twelve months.

When they ran out of chicken

KFC’s ‘We’re Sorry’ campaign

For a chicken shop, nothing speaks so obviously as crisis than running out of chicken. But in February this year, that’s exactly what happened: hundreds of branches had to shut their doors because of a delivery issue. KFC’s management of the crisis was inspired: they fearlessly released an apology ad that depicted an empty bucket with a comic reordering of the brand name to spell out ‘FCK’ on its side. Cheeky, fun and gutsy, and we loved it.

When they acknowledged that their chips suck

KFC used customer feedback as inspiration for change (Source: The Drum)

Dear KFC,

No one likes your fries.

Yours sincerely,

The entire world.

So tweeted one anti-fan of KFC’s fries back in February. But rather than quashing this feedback, KFC put this quotation front and centre of one campaign and showed how it has inspired the launch of a new recipe that promised to make their fries thicker, chunkier, and overall more delicious. It was fantastic to see that this major chain has used customer feedback to shape their products, but we especially loved that they did so in such an honest, funny and sexy way.

When they reminded us that even at Christmas, chicken rules the roost

KFC’s Christmas advert (Source: KFC)

Finally one of our favourite Christmas ads of the year, from this surprising candidate. The ad tells the story of a Western-style standoff between a chicken and a turkey, where the chicken – of course – comes up trumps. With the tagline Turkey Comes And Goes, but Chicken’s Here To Stay, KFC comes at Christmas with a playful and original narrative, reminding people of chicken’s ubiquitous superiority, all to the soundtrack of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

Whether it’s food labeling negligence or meat scandals, in recent years the world of food has been plagued by growing mistrust. But KFC has used this to their advantage, using it as inspiration to take an approach that is wonderfully open and refreshingly transparent. Their playful treatment of this difficult concept works fantastically for their brand, which doesn’t take itself too seriously, and has stood out as being original and witty.

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