One of the first lines of defense against the novel coronavirus is hand-washing, which doesn't bode well for KFC's latest ad campaign. The Drum reports that upward of 160 complaints have been registered with the UK's Advertising Standards Authority over the fast-food chain's recently launched series of "Finger Lickin' Good" ads, spurred by a one-minute TV spot that shows customers chowing down on KFC's chicken while also licking every last bit of seasoning off of their digits while being serenaded by Chopin. Consumers are calling the ad "irresponsible," and the ASA is said to be reviewing the complaints, though no investigation has yet been started.
Although a KFC spokesperson says the company is "proud" of the campaign, everyone there is cognizant of the current climate. "It doesn't feel like the right time to be airing this campaign, so we've decided to pause it for now," the rep tells the Drum, adding they hope to relaunch it sometime in the future. Via Fox News, Ad Age reports other big companies have also pulled ads, including one from Hershey's showing people shaking hands and embracing, and a campaign from Coors Light deeming itself the "official beer of working remotely." Writing for Yahoo, Tim Nelson wonders if this hubbub means KFC will also put on hold its search for a professional "finger licker" to appear in marketing imagery for the restaurant, including on a billboard. (Read more coronavirus stories.)