GENESIS: BBH was in a rut with its KFC ads, always highlighting the same suburban families with 2.4 kids. The London agency felt the modern British family was changing, becoming more expansive and diverse thanks to the effects of divorce and remarriage. Yet, oddly, British people feel a stronger sense of family than ever, research suggested. So, BBH set out to redefine the modern British family—sprawling yet intimate—with a remarkably soulful spot set at a backyard family picnic, where KFC helps to complete a moment of togetherness, tinged with nostalgia, on a perfect summer afternoon.
COPYWRITING: The spot is dialogue free, but needed a narrative hook. "Shooting a natural scene can come off seeming a bit empty and pointless if you're not careful," says BBH creative director Marc Hatfield. "You need a truth to keep it focused." The creative team settled on the idea that there are never enough chairs at family gatherings—thus, much of the action involves people lugging chairs to the yard. Onscreen copy at the end reads: "The people. The moment. The taste," followed by "So good," which is KFC's new global tagline. "It was a challenge for me personally to define what they meant by 'So good,' " says Hatfield. "I didn't want 'So good' becoming 'So what?' I really wanted it to stand for something. In the end, it became about the 'So good' moment. The people. The moment. The taste. Those three things combine to create this 'So good' moment."
ART DIRECTION: The spot has a modern message but a vintage look. "You capture what is very much now, but appeal to the memories of youth and those lovely summer evenings," says Hatfield. The director, Benito Montorio, used three cameras— two 16-millimeters and a Bolex 8-millimeter. "The Bolex really gives it that reminiscing, retrospective feel—sunny afternoons, balmy evenings. It evokes nice memories of family get-togethers," says Hatfield. The cinematic approach infuses the ordinary-looking surroundings with an ethereal beauty. "We wanted it to feel real, but not grubby or down-market," says Hatfield. "Photographing it beautifully balances the fact that you're being very real with the imagery."
FILMING: The commercial was filmed over two days in February. Needing a summer climate, the agency shot in Cape Town, South Africa, finding three or four locations in a neighborhood that looked like it belonged in an industrial suburb in the middle of England. "It looks like something out of a sunny version of a Mike Leigh or Ken Loach film," says Hatfield. The agency set up an actual picnic for the cast and started filming. One camera focused on picking up the scripted action. The other two were allowed to roam and capture spontaneous moments among the guests.
TALENT: Most of the cast are actual friends and family, found via street casting. They are mostly South African, with some British expats.
SOUND: The music, "One Big Family" by TempleCloud (with a vocal by Hannah Symons), is a gentle, moving remake of a 1997 hard-rock song by Embrace. "It brings a little tear to the eye, and really gets that family feeling across," says Hatfield. It was commissioned by BBH, and has given the ad much more mileage: People have been seeking out the song online and discussing it on Twitter.
MEDIA: The spot debuted in a 60-second version, and is now airing in :40 and :30 cutdowns.
Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty, London
Spot: "Emergency Chairs"
Creative Team: Harry Orton & Robin Warman
Creative Director: Marc Hatfield
Producer: Georgina Kent
Strategic Business Lead: Nick Stringer
Production Company: Blink
Director: Benito Montorio
Executive Producer: James Bland
Producer: Stuart Butterworth
DoP: John Lynch
Editing: Aaron at Stitch