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KFC "Fresh New Look, Same Great Taste" Ad

Let’s take a quick look at what we know about fast food ads on television: There are lots of them, usually at least one per commercial break. Smiling children and company mascots – think kings, clowns and Chihuahuas – are abundant. Thanks to some sneaky photographic tricks, the items advertised always seem more appealing than when you order them at your local chain (I mean, have you seen what they look like in real life?)

But then there is a trend that we are finding more challenging to explain. In many of these ads, the food items will come flying in – sometimes in slow motion – from the top of the screen, landing inside a serving container or on a kitchen surface. Don’t know what we’re talking about here? Have a look at this clip from fried chicken joint KFC above (start paying attention around 20 seconds in) and then take notice the next time you watch a commercial for a fast food restaurant. Chances are that you’ll see a lot of moving parts – often bouncing up and down – from that Big Mac or Whopper Junior.

So, what could the logic be behind this odd yet widespread marketing ploy? Sure, there may be some aesthetic appeal to seeing a lettuce leaf gently drop from the screen, drips of water sliding off as it nestles itself softly on top of a hamburger bun – there is the illusion that the ingredient is light. But why must beef patties and fried chicken drumsticks also receive similar treatment? We get that showing smoke wafting around the fried chicken when it is torn open illustrates its supposed freshness, but what is it exactly that KFC – and other fast food companies –  are trying to project with these active, gravity-defying meat products? Any ideas?

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