Much Ado About A Pronoun: KFC's New Slogan

KFC is making a subtle change to its 65-year-old slogan, “It’s Finger Lickin’ Good.” Are you ready for the new one? “That’s Finger Lickin’ Good.”

A campaign by MullenLowe will sport the new slogan. The thinking behind the switch was that instead of celebrating the brand’s food, the slogan is instead celebrating consumers’ perception of it.

“That’s Finger Lickin’ Good" is the customer describing the brand. In other words, KFC isn’t claiming that its food is Finger Lickin’ Good, it’s instead quoting customers.

“What we see in the category is all too often, customers settle for ‘Eh, it’s just good enough,’ or 'It’s OK' -- but only KFC serves finger lickin’ good fried chicken,” said Nick Chavez, KFC’s U.S chief marketing officer.

To an outsider, this sounds like an awful lot is being made about a pronoun. In practice, “that’s” is a subjective opinion, while “it’s” is something that is collectively acknowledged to be good. It’s the same idea as if I said, “I think Elon Musk is an idiot” versus “Elon Musk is an idiot.”



In other words, it’s a very subtle distinction that won’t resonate with KFC’s target audience. Especially since this comes after a KFC logo rebranding. For those old enough to recall, Colonel Sanders used to sport a mustache and a little beard. But the new logo features a clean-shaven Sanders.

At this point, KFC has messed with its brand image so much that making this slight tweak to its tagline won’t make much of a difference. That’s what happens when you tinker too much with the ephemera around the brand, without ensuring that the brand still stands for something.

Correction: The KFC logo rebrand mentioned above, featuring a clean-shaven Colonel Sanders, was for a short-lived promotion in France only.

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