I’m forever paying attention to the visuals that appear in advertising. It gives me inspiration and I often find some that just blow my mind with the amount of creativity they contain. One such example is a campaign that came out of Hong Kong. The…
I’m forever paying attention to the visuals that appear in advertising. It gives me inspiration and I often find some that just blow my mind with the amount of creativity they contain. One such example is a campaign that came out of Hong Kong. The client was KFC and it was to promote their Hot and Spicy Chicken.
I’m not sure about you, but when I hear the words “hot and spicy’ I see flames, heat, the colours red, orange and yellow. Those are the things that come to mind for me. I’m pretty sure I’m somewhere in the middle with everyone else who would likely have much the same reaction. Clearly the words ‘hot and spicy’ are speaking about a heat-related topic.
What I didn’t expect was how that very concept was going to be conveyed in the actual print advertising campaign. I had to look at the ads twice before I truly figured out what was going on and now I can’t not see the hidden message.
The ad agency Ogilvy Hong Kong found a unique and very unusual way to display balls of flame and explosive flares without blowing up KFC’s budget. It’s simply not the work of chickens, although chickens play the starring role in the ad campaign.
Let me explain.
There’s an ad that features the Space Shuttle on take off. Below it is a huge ball of flame. Another one features a rocket-powered race car zipping across the page with a giant ball of flames behind it.
But are those really flames? Sure, with photo editing tools it’s pretty easy to fake fire in a print ad. But, wait. Those flames in the KFC Hot and Spicy Chicken ads are NOT real. Yes, there has been some photo editing trickery used but if you look closely you’ll see the hidden (subliminal) message.
Each of those ‘flames’ are actually close up photos of…wait for it…pieces of hot and spicy chicken. I kid you not. It’s explained a bit better than that in Ad Week but when you look at the example included with this blog post, take a real hard look at those flames.
What better way to promote spicy fried chicken than to hide it right in front of you in a print ad that says that the product is hot and spicy but makes you think about heat as flames?
What I like most about this campaign – aside from the clever use of chicken – is that it makes you look more than once. Essentially, KFC has forced you to think about their brand by taking what looks like common scenes and converted them into flames made of fried chicken. Subliminal, indeed.
Did you notice the chicken the first time you saw one of the ads or have I spoiled it for you?
Branding comes in all forms and sometimes it takes a real jump outside of the box to get a simple message across. As far as I’m concerned, KFC did not run afoul with this amazing use of visuals.
Although they probably didn’t think about it in the beginning, London design studio Planning Unit scored big with a little idea. Originally conceived by the company’s co-founder Jeff Knowles.
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