KFC's Turn-Around Slogan And Ad By Oscar-Nominated Director Looks Eerily Familiar

Earlier this week, KFC rolled out a new ad campaign — directed by Oscar nominated David O’Russell — that execs hope will turn around the struggling fast food chain.

In fact, USA Today described KFC execs’ hopes that the new slogan for boneless original recipe chicken, “I ate the bones,” would “instantly go viral and become a popular obsession, reminiscent of Wendy’s old charmer of a slogan ‘Where’s the beef?'”

While that probably wasn’t going to happen to begin with, a source emailed Business Insider to point out that the new premium catch phrase in the DraftFCB Chicago ad looks strangely familiar to Young & Rubicam Toronto’s KFC campaign from more than seven years ago. Although it only ran in Canada.

Here’s one of two new ads, in which a child tells her dad “I think you ate the bones” (a phrase that the father then repeats contemplatively) after he eats a tub of chicken.

While it looks relatively low-budget, considering the directing talent, we’re pretty sure that it came at a high price.

The new commercial isn’t too different from Y&R Toronto’s old spot in which a young guy is sitting on his couch eating KFC wings only to be interrupted by his roommates emphatically ranting, “You ate the bones?” “Dude you can’t eat the bones!” When he tries to explain that they’re boneless, the roommates scream, “Don’t talk, they’ll lodge in your throat!” 

The Y&R ad is more high octane — the roommate eventually gets rushed into an ambulance — but it’s a similar theme and a similar slogan.

“These things happen, but you’d hope clients would be aware of what’s been done for their brand in the past,” Ian Schwey, a creative who worked on the Y&R campaign and is currently a CD at doug & serge, told BI.

DraftFCB did not immediately respond to a call for comment. We will update once we hear back.

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