KFC Responds to U.K. Chicken Shortage Scandal With a Timely ‘FCK, We’re Sorry’

Mother London crafted the foul-mouthed, full-page ad

In The Sun and Metro, KFC ran a full-page print ad crafted by agency of record Mother London. KFC
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KFC went through a highly publicized, somewhat bizarre crisis in the U.K. this week: The fast food joint known for its fried chicken ran out of chicken. Now, KFC is apologizing with a creative stunt: rearranging its name to spell “FCK.”

The shortage stemmed from “operational issues” with new delivery provider DHL, forcing most of its hundreds of locations to temporarily shut down (some reopening with limited menus and shorter hours). Disappointed fans of the chain were vocal on social media and even started trying to get police involved (police in both London and Manchester had to remind angry KFC fans that the “#KFCCrisis” isn’t a police matter).

KFC even set up a website letting fans know where the closest open store was located. As of today, the BBC reported that around 700 of the KFC’s stores in the U.K. have reopened.

One dejected KFC fanatic admitted “I’ve had to go to Burger King” after repeatedly returning to KFC, where she was given free rice boxes. KFC responded with a jab at the rival fast food chain, which in turn offered the woman a year of free King Boxes.

Burger King wasn’t the only one to capitalize on the #KFCCrisis.  Iceland Foods offered free breaded chicken strips, while PETA tweeted about the state of the typical British chicken farm.

Recognizing that an apology was in order after “a hell of a week,” the chain did just that. In The Sun and Metro, KFC ran a full-page print ad crafted by agency of record Mother London. The ad apologizes for the ordeal while admitting that “a chicken restaurant without any chicken” is “not ideal.”

The ad grabs readers’ attention with a reimagining of the chain’s logo undoubtedly echoing the sentiments of both fast food fans and company executives to the chicken shortage: reordering “KFC” to read “FCK.” Mother London declined to comment on the ad, believing the apology speaks for itself.

KFC’s apology appears to be getting a mostly positive reception from fans of the fast food chain on social media.

Founder and group managing director of Frank PR Andrew Bloch tweeted that the apology was a “masterclass in PR crisis management,” while other marketers and fans alike tweeted in praise of the brand’s apology.


@ErikDOster erik.oster@adweek.com Erik Oster is an agencies reporter for Adweek.
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