A lot of Chinese ads use celebrities, and KFC has certainly done its share of that. But this film is about a real person, a manager trainee at an outlet in Shenzhen. The voiceover explains what he loves, like taking trips to the ocean, hiking, being alone to think. About halfway through, there's an unexpected reveal of a major aspect of Li Liang's life and the lives of many of his colleagues.
It's one of eight short movies by Ogilvy & Mather Shanghai that were originally intended for KFC's internal use, though the brand decided to share some online, said Graham Fink, Ogilvy China's chief creative officer. In ads for a range of different clients, he has been trying to showcase more real people and stories, which are "so much better than inventing things," as he says.
KFC was the first foreign fast food player to enter China back in 1987, becoming a symbol of the country's opening up to foreign brands and experiences. (One of KFC's films highlights another common experience in China; customers from the countryside visit KFC for the first time, are unsure of how to order and get some help.)
KFC is the biggest foreign fast food chain in China, with over 5,000 outlets. But the chain has had difficulties there in recent years, including stiff competition from local players and food safety issues. This film and the others in the series seem like a step toward humanizing a big foreign brand and winning back trust.