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October 13, 2015

KFC ad features a sound only young people can hear - VIDEO

by Bob Sassone, posted Apr 12th 2007 7:01PM

KFC logoI don't really get this, but maybe it's because I'm old.

KFC has a commercial that features a high pitched sound (called a "Mosquito Tone") that only younger people can hear. This has been a growing trend as I heard a news story about stores that use the sound to keep kids away from hanging out in their stores that had a sound that only younger people can hear. The problem is, the high pitched sound is CLEAR AND LOUD, whether you're 8 or 80. Am I missing something?

Anyway, you can judge for yourself after the jump. I don't know if there's another sound in the clip that we older people don't hear, but I do suddenly have an incredible urge for a Boneless Variety Bucket.

[via TV Tattle]

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Bill Grove

The tone here in this YouTube video is significantly lower than the one I heard on tv. I'm 36 and heard the tone and it got my attention. That's possibly what they were doing, because I was working on my computer and looked up to see where the annoying sound was being generated.


April 19 2007 at 9:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

When I heard the high pitch sound during the KFC commercial my wife thought I was going nuts!! I'm glad I found this article. By the the way - I'm turning 32 next month. All hope is not lost for the old. There are some of us old folk who still hear things - and I'm no virgin to concerts and loud parties.

April 19 2007 at 8:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


The link you posted sounds like it's in the same frequency, but the volume's far, far lower. It's easy to hear if you turn up your sound a good deal, but even then it's not very loud. Still, it sounds like the same pitch.

April 13 2007 at 11:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This is a smart move on KFC's part because the younger demographic really digs avant-garde electroacoustic sound art. It's only a matter of time before Maryanne Amacher and Ryoji Ikeda start pitching Hyundais or Cap'n Crunch.

April 13 2007 at 10:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

That link above to the "real" mosquito tone is not the one I've seen before. I can clearly hear the high pitched squeal of that one. The one here, http://www.jetcityorange.com/toys/MosquitoRingtone.wav , I can't hear at all.

I don't see how the commercial would have any impact; I don't know a single teen who watches commercials anywhere other than YouTube, thanks to TiVo.

April 13 2007 at 7:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Reminds me of that fad book in the Seventies about "subliminal advertising" You know, how ice cubes in print ads for alcohol were supposed to spell SEX. I think it was all disproved, as will theis tone idea.

April 13 2007 at 9:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

People keep asking why the sound is there... you'll notice it pops in (and quite audibly on this clip) right when they cut to the chicken.

I'm sure the theory is to cue the sound so that kids will look up - see the chicken - and request some from the folks without the folks knowing that the kiddos have received official notification from the Emergency Chicken Broadcast System.

April 13 2007 at 8:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm fifteen and i didnt hear it during the commercial (IT came on like three times during Ugly Betty) but i heard it through the Youtube play back and the little sound like someone else posted. Maybe they decided it was annoying and got rid of it before airing the actual commercial?

April 13 2007 at 12:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Must...eat...chicken...must...buy..variety bucket....

April 13 2007 at 12:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'll be 47 in a few weeks, spent the better part of the 70's at loud rock concerts and did more than my fair share of hunting and firearm practice without hearing protection. I can hear, and more like "feel", that 17 khz tone like it were a sonic lance piercing my skull.

Below is a link to an example of the real 17 khz tone and not the obviously altered example in that KFC ad. The damned thing hurts like hell!


I've always had really good hearing and I guess my ears are still going strong, at least for my age.

April 12 2007 at 11:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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