CAN Exercise 4.2 Advert Commentary


Rip out an advertising image from a newspaper supplement. Comment on what it is, what it says about the product and why are you think it’s there.


On 14 February 2018, the UK fast-food chain KFC changed its raw materials logistics contract from Bidvest to DHL. Under the new arrangements, KFC rationalised a six-depot logistics solution to a single depot solution.

At around 01:40 on 14 February, a fatal accident involving seven vehicles closed the M6 near the DHL warehouse in Rugby. With lorries becoming stuck in traffic as soon as leaving the single DHL depot and with no other locations available to backfill the situation, the chicken shortages began. By 16 February KFC outlets began to close, and by 18 February few of the 900 restaurants remained open.

While operational matters quickly improved, the restaurant closures presented a significant reputational crisis for KFC. As KFC itself said

A chicken restaurant without any chicken. It’s not ideal.

Faced with this reputational crisis, KFC settled upon two communication objectives: to publicly apologise for the inconvenience caused and to explain to customers, franchisees and suppliers that a resolution was in hand. KFC’s first issue was to decide which media type would best serve its communications objectives. It believed that print media benefited from higher trust metrics and therefore decided to run full-page adverts in the Sun and the Metro on 23 February with a combined readership of 6 million. KFC’s London advertising agency, Mother, devised an innovative advertising message.

The approach proved to be a masterstroke.

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