Sometimes, a person wants to ditch work and go get something to eat. But a soccer player takes that impulse to an amusing extreme in a new KFC ad from Ogilvy South Africa.
The spot opens on a match underway at Cape Town’s Athlone Stadium. Its star—a fictional footballer named Herbz—decides to take a dive after a defender touches his arm during a play. At first, it seems like just the average ploy for a free kick. In fact, it’s something much more.
“Oh, Herbz is looking for the red card here,” says the announcer, as the player flops around like a fish out of water—eventually deciding to clutch his knee. Herbz writhes past the team of medics who have rushed onto the field carrying a stretcher, and continues rolling in faux-pain—right over the sidelines and out of the stadium altogether.
Cue an absurd montage of Herbz, still in his uniform, traversing Cape Town in what must be one of the world’s least efficient modes of transportation. He rolls through a market, under a skateboarder, down the street past storefronts and gawking tourists and locals alike.
A few kids join him for a romp through a dusty field in the township of Khayelitsha—some 12 plus miles from the stadium. A couple of guys hanging at a local bar watch his original flop on the TV while he rolls past the doorway. Next, it’s up and over a footbridge, while a news crew follows him—Forrest Gump-style—on his marathon dive.
In one of the ad’s best moments, he stops and waits patiently at a crosswalk for the light to turn green—still grimacing, unwilling to give up the act.
Eventually, Herbz gets to a KFC. Upon crossing the threshold, he pops up, a smile beaming on his face, and his injury mysteriously cured. “Make a meal of it,” reads the on-screen tagline—and the over-the-top attempt to milk a defender’s challenge becomes an elaborate pun for a two-piece fried chicken and fries deal the chain is offering.
Aptly titled “Keep Rolling”, the ad makes for one of those jokes that’s mildly funny, then dumb, then gets even funnier yet because it drags on for so long. But with the 2018 World Cup underway in Russia, there is a timely strategy behind it. “Without the rights to the FIFA World Cup we needed to own something football related during the World Cup,” explains Safaraaz Sindhi creative group head at Ogilvy Cape Town.
“We latched onto the one thing that FIFA despises, something they would never license or patent, “diving” or “simulation”—the act of a player falling to the ground and rolling around to con officials into penalizing the opposition. It’s something we were sure would happen quite regularly during the World Cup and when it did, we’d be top of mind. And we haven’t been disappointed. [Uruguayan National Team player Luis] Suárez has already got the ball rolling.”
Sindhi points to fan tweets referencing the KFC ad in the context of World Cup games as a sign of early success. Adds group creative head Alex Goldberg, “The line ‘Make a meal of it’ had a great link to what has become the Hollywood of football moves and that of KFC’s great new offering. It gave us a great platform to create a really fun ad where every scene added more to the story.” Meanwhile, “our director, Karien Cherry, did an incredible job sourcing such a diverse list of locations that made the commercial look and feel African,” says Goldberg.
And viewers can rest assured, it’s no coincidence that Herbz’s jersey number is 11.
Client: KFC Africa/South Africa
Client Representative: Dewald Duplooy, Suhayl Limbada, Palesa Munzara, Tumelo Monare, Cassandra Appenteng, Anna Maphanga
Product: KFC Streetwise 2
Title: Keep Rolling
Agency: Ogilvy Cape Town
Chief Creative Officer: Pete Case
Executive Creative Director: Tseliso Rangaka
Associate Executive Creative Director: Nicholas Wittenberg
Creative Group Head: Safaraaz Sindhi
Creative Group Head: Alex Goldberg
Art Director: Sibs Zihle
Copywriter: Steven Lipschitz
Head of Production: Cathy Day
Group Account Director: Nabeelah Sayed
Account Manager: Emma Fairlie
Delivery Manager: Sinovuyo Ngcwama
Production Company: Giant Films
Director: Karien Cherry
Executive Producer: Emma Lundy
Producer: Laura Sampson
Stylist: Elton Campbell
Art Director: Laurence Bishop
Editor: Anthony Lee Martin
Music Composers: Pressure Cooker
Sound Design: The Workroom
Sound Engineer: Stephen Webster
Post Production: Strangelove
VFX Post Production: Charmaine Greyling
Colourist: Nic Apostoli