KFC Targets Kids With Mosquito Tone Commercial


Using mosquito tone technology which produces a high pitched frequency that, in most cases, only those under 21 can hear, KFC, with help from DraftFCB, has launched a commercial which offers the chance to win a $10 coupon to the first 1,000 who know when the tone starts in the commercial. Blatantly casting aside issues surrounding childhood obesity (not that it's marketer's fault, mind you) and human physiology, KFC spokeswoman Laurie Schalow said, "It's really not meant to target 20-year-olds and under. We actually found there were quite a few people in their 30s who can hear it just fine." Uh, right. Gotta love public relations.

Oh wait, strike that. We can hear the tone just fine and we're, uh, well over 20. Guess we have great ears. Or the sound has been enhanced in the YouTube version of the commercial. Yup, it's been enhanced. Can't hear it in the commercial hosted on the KFC site. So it's back to lovin' PR. But there's no need to guess yourselves. The 1,000 coupons have already been claimed.

by Steve Hall    Apr-12-07   Click to Comment   
Topic: Brands, Commercials, Promotions   

Enjoy what you've read? Subscribe to Adrants Daily and receive the daily contents of this site each day along with free whitepapers.



There's a weird chirping noise in the ad, later than the YouTube beep. It repeats a bunch of times, then changes at the end. It might be the mosquito tone... or it might just be some weird music.

(22 yo)

Posted by: A F on April 12, 2007 9:30 PM

I heard it on both and its quite annoying. Im 30 and the fact that i heard it means my hearing is good. The fact that it annoyed me means that i am..in fact..getting old. Now excuse me while i chase those darn kids off my lawn!

Posted by: Brandon on April 13, 2007 6:33 PM

Any experienced audio engineer could tell you that this whole campaign is a huge mistake. If reports that the mysterious "young people only" tone occurs at 17.6 kHz are true, then someone didn't do their homework.

Seems that television stations can't transmit frequencies over 16kHz! The transmitters contain a brickwall filter at that frequency to keep anything from interfering with the stereo carrier.

No audio engineer in their right mind would allow a client to produce a spot that depended on a 17.6kHz tone. Besides...most TV amplifier/speaker combinations can't even reproduce that high a frequency.

If you heard the tone...get checked for tinnitus. Or a wild imagination.

Posted by: Brent Walker on April 14, 2007 12:24 AM

And I actually knew that, Brent. Thanks for bringing this up. You're right. A tone at that level could not be delivered via TV. Ooops.

Posted by: Steve Hall on April 15, 2007 12:31 PM

I keep hearing this and every time I think my CRT upstairs is going out. I didn't realize it was the comercial untill I heard it downstairs on the DLP projection as well. Thanks KFC for making my wife think the TV needs replaced...

Posted by: Bob on April 16, 2007 9:51 PM

I am 13 years old and I whant KFC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Dalton Boyer on April 19, 2007 5:41 PM

I am 13 years old and I whant KFC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Dalton Boyer on April 19, 2007 5:45 PM

If it truly can't be played via TV, maybe they changed the hertz on the TV commercial then? Cause I just heard it on Grey's Anatomy playing back from DVR. I wasn't paying attention but as soon as that sound came on, it was very annoying. This is via HDTV if that makes any difference.

Posted by: Carl on April 22, 2007 11:36 PM

Uh, I don't care at what khz the tone is played at, I can hear it VERY clearly over my home theater. It also wakes the dog. I have written KFC's marketing people and told them that I will mute or turn off the commercials and I will NOT be eating at their establishments as long as they continue this nonsense.
btw, I'm 31 and the sound comes through loud and clear. I thought I was hearing things the first two times I saw the commercial.
For the audio engineers out there, this sound does seem to be more prevalent or clear when I see the commercials in HD. Maybe there's greater audio range for HD commercials?

Posted by: scott on April 26, 2007 8:48 PM

I have to say that it's quite annoying. I just put the tv on in the background when I'm doing something and every time that commercial goes on, I have to hear it. It also bothers the dog. I also will not be eating at their establishments as long as that continues. I'm 19 years old, can hear it loud and clear and find that it's ridiculous.

Posted by: Ashley on April 27, 2007 3:50 PM