Ad of the Day: KFC Makes the Holidays a Little Less Horrible With a Musical Extravaganza

BBH's Christmas spot

Headshot of Tim Nudd

For all the earnest and sappy Christmas ads out there, there's a countervailing trend toward presenting a more realistic view of the holiday season—i.e., that it's actually a very stressful time of year. This can make for good comedy, of course, and over in Britain, KFC has produced this year's grandest seasonal piss-take—a two-and-a-half-minute musical extravaganza that recommends uniting with yuletide enemies over a bucket of chicken and eating your holiday cares away.

The spot, from BBH London and Biscuit Filmworks director Tim Godsall, opens with a showdown in a store between angry moms. "I almost tore your hair out for the last doll in the store," one sings. "But the things that once divided us don't matter anymore," the other one sings in reply. And we're off on a grandiose musical journey, as traditional holiday foes (carolers and carolees, snowballers and snowballees, Santa Claus and incontinent children) put aside their differences and bond over the soothing comfort of 11 herbs and spices.

It's all amusingly goofy and completely over the top—even the lip-syncing at times seems intentionally bad. (And to an American audience, the British pronunciation of "herbs" only adds to the comedy.) Yet the song is catchy enough to tie it all together—it's parody, yes, but also genuinely infectious. And the spot has quite the impressive finale, as the KFC Choir appears (no, really, you can follow them on Twitter) to belt out the chorus one last time.

"We wanted to make something that stood out from a lot of ads you come to expect this time of year," says David Kolbusz, deputy executive creative director at BBH (which, showing its range, also did the stately and elaborately choreographed Baileys Christmas ad). "The trick was to address the reality of unavoidable yuletide stress and conflict without depressing people. We decided the best way to do this was through the medium of song. A schmaltzy, sugar-coated song."

There's a nice social tie-in, too. All this week, people are encouraged to tweet about someone they'd like to make peace with this Christmas—using the hashtag #UniteThisXmas. The winning tweeter will have his or her conflict resolved by starring in a new commercial that will air Dec. 14 on the finale of Britain's version of The X Factor.

The song is also available for purchase on iTunes, although that's really superfluous, since it will be in your head for the rest of the day regardless.


Client: KFC

Jennelle Tilling, Vice President, Marketing

Meghan Farren, Marketing Director

Agency: BBH London

Deputy Executive Creative Director: David Kolbusz

Copywriters: David Kolbusz, Matt Moreland

Art Directors: David Kolbusz, Chris Clarke

Creative Director: Marc Hatfield

Producer: Rachel Hough

Assistant Producer: Vaia Ikonomou

Strategic Business Lead: Sian Cook

Team Director: Phil Baker

Team Manager: Leo Sloley

Strategy Director: Ross Berthinussen

Strategist: John Jones

Production Company: Biscuit Filmworks

Director: Tim Godsall

Managing Director: Shawn Lacy

Executive Producer: Orlando Wood

Producer: Amy Appleton

Production Manager: Nicola Dempsey

Director of Photography: David Procter

Postproduction: Electric Theatre Collective

Visual Effects Supervisor: Giles Cheetham

Telecine: Aubrey Woodiwiss

Post Producer: Matt Williams

Editing House: Final Cut

Editor: Rick Russell

Music Supervision: The Most Radicalist Black Sheep Music

Artist: The Hot Sauce Posse

Sound: String and Tins

Sound Designer: Will Cohen

@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.
Publish date: December 3, 2013 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT