I receive an email yesterday from a PR firm trying to get me write a glow review of the latest KFC TV spot. I watched the ad and found myself in a familiar and frustrating territory. In this case, instead of getting people to create their ads like other companies, KFC has started from the other end and cobbled together YouTube clips into a spot about their chicken with no trans fats. You can see the spot here. For me it is completely forgettable experience that will get lost in the noise since most of the ad feels like a badly edited down version of America’s Funniest Home Videos with a weak opening that will fall victim to the TiVo fast forward. So what we are left with is something that isn’t anything close to a smart or resonant way to use something like the YouTube phenomenon. I can’t say I am surprised by this since this is the group who last year thought that selling America on the concept that fried chicken was good for you was a good idea.
I have made no secret about how much I hate the recent trend in advertising where agencies get consumer to do their job by creating their commercials for them. I think it is nothing short of a huge signal that our industry needs to come down out of the ivory tower and remember what it is like to create ads that create culture, create feeling and move real people. We need new blood who values ideas and knows how to create them. We need professors in advertising programs who are teaching designers how to think and not Photoshop and Illustrator production techniques. Maybe I am an outsider since I am a second generation creative director who had the chance to grow up in the industry before computers and the Internet. I think that when it comes to ideas and advertising the old ways are the best ways and too many designers let technology and production techniques get in the way of all of that.