KFC in China: How a US giant created a 'local' brand

Tessa Thorniley

When KFC wanted a new slogan for the brand in China last year, it took inspiration from the Great Helmsman, Mao Zedong.

Suddenly 'Life tastes better with KFC' became 'Life is so beautiful with KFC'. The new tagline (omitting the reference to the fast food chain) is a line from Mao's most famous poem, Snow.

Referencing Mao is certainly a sign of ambition – not to mention confidence. But of any overseas brand operating in China, KFC probably has the heritage to pull it off.

The chain launched the re-working of Mao's verse just as it cut the ribbon on its 3000th Chinese restaurant at a site in downtown Shanghai. A few months later, Yum!, KFC's American parent company suggested that the chain may 'one day' have 15,000 fried chicken restaurants on the mainland against its current tally of 3,200.

A history of localisation