The Mixed Message I Get from the New KFC Advert

Maybe this new KFC Advert only appears here in Ireland. If it does, then this little essay-ette is not going to make much sense to many people. Still I always try to write about what’s on my mind and this is it for this week. So what can I do? I gotta be true to me.

Yes, there’s this new advert for KFC on the telly and, for me, it’s sending out a rather confused message or, at least, I’m receiving a mixed message from it and, yes, I’ll grant you, that’s probably a completely different thing.

I’m saying ‘KFC’ but, in my head, I’ll always be giving it its full title of ‘Kentucky Fried Chicken’. We never had one in my home town when I was growing up but when I moved to Dublin as a student I became a sucker for their three pieces with chips. 

Enough with the history. Let’s talk about this advert.

Have you seen it? There’s this kid of about eight or nine and he looks out of his upper floor bedroom window and he sees a car pull up outside and the guy in the car is bringing the KFC home for tea. So the kid bails out of the bedroom and starts heading down the stairs at a gallop. Oh did I mention that it’s, like, The Fifties, cos there’s an upbeat ditty playing that is faintly reminiscent of the Benny Hill chase music.

Here’s the thing. As he heads down the stairs, this lad starts morphing into slightly older versions of himself. First he’s a teen, then a young man, then a dad… and so on. By the time he gets to the bottom of the stairs, he’s a granddad and the KFC has arrived at the front door and he gets to sit down with all the generations he has begot and nibble some chicken with them.

It’s kind of good, in a KFC advert kind of a way. It zips along and the themes of family, constancy, and time-passing are ones we can all identify with.

It’s what the voice-over man says at the end, that’s what throws me. I won’t quote him verbatim but essentially what he’s telling us is that Kentucky Fried Chicken has now been feeding us for over forty years.

Forty years? Hang on, bro.

The little dude at the top of the stairs is, like I said, eight or nine. The little dude at the bottom step if like seventy five or eighty. 

What the heck happened on the way down?

Granted, he’s a sprightly enough looking septuagenarian. There he is, chowing down on a thigh-piece and having the crack with everyone. He’s looking all right. Except for that one small thing…

… he’s bloody ancient!

If KFC has been feeding him for forty years and he was eight to start with, then his diet, secret herbs and spices or not, has withered him atrociously. It’s nearly doubled his ageing process. He’s like that little guy in ‘Blade Runner’ and the advertisers have paid a fortune to show us this poor man and the terrible price he has paid for his weekly Saturday Night snack box.

So that’s the message I get from this KFC advert. “It’s nice but it will age you. Be warned.”

Post Script:

I was genuinely confused by this advert so I went and did a little YouTube research. The British and Irish versions of the commercial seem identical, except for one small matter. The British one says that KFC has been around for over seventy years while our one says forty. 

That explains it. We’ve only had KFC for forty years so the advert had to be tweaked. But, hey, what a tweak it’s been. 

The next time I stare down a Dinner Box and Diet Coke, I’ll be covertly considering my own mortality and wondering if I’m about to snack two years of my life away in one fell swoop.

It won’t stop me, obviously.

I mean, come on...


Don’t Worry So Much

I wish I didn’t have to worry so much about every little thing. I just do.

And please don’t roll up, talking to me about Mindfulness and Yoga, Tai Chi, Long Woodland Walks and Deep Breathing. I get the idea, really, thanks very much. I think it’s just the way I am, a bit of genetic programming gone awry, a short circuit in the worry-gene.

I worry about stuff. Tiny little things can grab my mind and exercise it for hours and days on end. 

‘Gosh,’ you might say, ‘if you worry so much about the little things, how on earth do you cope when there are great big things to worry about?’ 

Interestingly enough, the answer to that is ‘just the same’. I seem to worry exactly the same amount about teeny things as I do about bloody-great things. There’s no sense of proportion. Perversely, this means that I deal quite well with the huge worries in my world. I guess my mind is so adept at constantly worrying about the minutia that it’s well prepared for the serious stuff. Maybe that’s just silly. I worry that is the case. 

Some times are worse than others. Conversely some times are better. These current days seem to carry a high ‘worry about stupid things’ quotient. Bah. It’s very annoying.

Of course, I’m fully aware of the stupidity and pointlessness of it all. While one side of my brain is worried obsessively about some letter that I might have forgotten to post, the other side is busy reviling it for being a twat. It’s all very tiring.

It can distract from a sunny day or a good book. It can wrap you up in a damp sticky sort of cotton wool stuff that is neither comforting nor warm.

And I wish I didn’t do it.

There was a lady on the radio the other morning giving a very good interview. Bit by bit, her eyesight is failing. It is reducing down to a single tiny dot and then there will be nothing but darkness. Bit by bit, her hearing is also failing. Soon there will only be silence. Her attitude was wonderful, she is grabbing at every experience, filing them away where she can enjoy them when there are no new visual or aural ones to be enjoyed. She ‘keeps on keeping on’ despite everything. I respect her attitude enormously. Of course, she makes me feel foolish. I really must do better at 'not sweating the petty things'. I owe more to this wonderful life than to mooch around inside it, befuddled by little irrelevancies.

Maybe I’m learning. 

On Friday, I stood at Mum and Dad’s graveside and thought a bit more about this. All of their day-to-day worries are laid to rest now and have been for a long time. The things that seemed earth-shattering and insurmountable… well, they don’t even exist anymore. I have to be tougher with myself and fight to find some greater perspective, on all those silly little things at least. 

I owe them that much.

I owe the brave lady off the radio that much.

I owe myself.