Why KFC isn't finger lickin' good at the moment

You can describe KFC in many different ways: it's crunchy, tasty, addictive, mouthwatering, flavorful. And for more than half a century, it was also "finger-lickin' good." But the coronavirus and calls by experts to wash our hands regularly and stop touching our faces brought down the slogan we've come to associate with one of the country's favorite kinds of fried chicken (via CNN). The company marked that change with an ad featuring the offending words blurred out on billboards and buckets.

"We find ourselves in a unique situation — having an iconic slogan that doesn't quite fit in the current environment," said Catherine Tan-Gillespie, KFC's global chief marketing officer. "While we are pausing the use of 'It's finger-lickin' good,' rest assured the food craved by so many people around the world isn't changing one bit." And before you say "but it's just a slogan," know that in the UK, KFC had to pull ads featuring the catchphrase and images of people licking their fingers because they were seen as being in conflict with official guidance for preventing the spread of the virus (via The Guardian).

KFC and its parent company Yum! Brands were hit by the pandemic

Other than complaints about its ads, KFC has also felt the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The brand and its parent company Yum! Brands were hit by shelter-in-place orders like most fast-food restaurants were, and they have had to change the way they do business in order to protect both its employees and its customers from contracting COVID-19. The company says it has been looking to make its food available through drive-thrus, carryout, curbside pick-up, as well as contactless delivery.

CNN called KFC's decision to change the slogan a marketing move – and why not? The "new" slogan looks catchy and slightly naughty, with its censored words and — at least for now — outdated sentiment. But if you're a KFC traditionalist and you perhaps feel that the change could be one of the signs that the End of Days is just around the corner, company officials say the catchphrase and its ad campaigns haven't been permanently put out to pasture. The Guardian reports that the slogan has been put on hiatus before, and it can happen again. "We've decided to pause it for now — but we're really proud of it and look forward to bringing it back at a later date," a company spokesperson tells CNBC.