When life gets difficult, a sense of humor helps. Given the labor shortages, congested shipping ports and lack of raw materials combined with rising inflation, there is no question: We consumers are living in challenging times. For the past two years, brands have been going for the easy emotional reaction. How many “we’re in this together” commercials does it take before eyes start to roll?

I think it’s time to laugh again. This holiday season, I’m asking for clever, irreverent, even absurd messaging from CPG brands.

KFC has already answered the call. I don’t think it gets more absurd than a limited-edition Chicken Mitten Bucket Hugger (see cover). Fast food brands like KFC, Wendy’s and Taco Bell use humor effectively to connect with consumers.

Remember when KFC had its very own supply crisis when it switched distribution partners to service its 900-plus restaurants in the UK and Ireland? It resulted in a chicken shortage. Yes, KFC had to tell its customers they were out of chicken. The company reacted quickly and redesigned the bucket as a written apology. The infamous FCK bucket is truly a masterclass in communications. Well played, KFC.

I’m curious to hear your thoughts. Do you prefer holiday humor or sentiment?

One more story. While writing this, a man in California returned home to find a bear on his kitchen counter, with its head in a bucket of KFC. He said he thinks the smell of KFC was just too tempting for the bear to resist.