Why I’m clucking mad about KFC campaigns

Written by Kirsty Perkins


Every now and then you see a campaign you really like – whether it’s because you resonate with it, it stands for something powerful, and/or it has provoked meaningful change. Other times, they’re just brilliantly creative and make you smile.

While there are many that fit into the first category, there is one particular brand that continually pop up on my radar just for making me smile and find myself thinking “I like what they did there”.

KFC is well-loved by many, but it’s some of their recent campaigns that make me love them even more.

MY TOP PICK OF KFC CAMPAIGNS

‘We’re back’

Looking at the number of posts making their rounds on social media of people trying to recreate KFC’s secret recipe, I think it’s safe to say that people missed their Kentucky Fried Chicken fix during lockdown. With a large amount of people no longer leaving their homes for extended periods of time, many have started spending their time in the kitchen – special note to how popular banana bread was this spring. 

From crafting their own packaging to cracking out the deep fat fryer, many tried and failed to replicate the iconic taste. But not one to miss a trick, and knowing how powerful user generated content can be, KFC cleverly utilised some of the clips making the rounds online with a simple “we’ll take it from here” message.

Extra points of course go to the music choice – we no longer have to be all by ourselves now we have the glorious KFC back in our dinner plates. Goodbye, deep fat fryer.

FCK

fck

Now what kind of chicken shop runs out of chicken? Only the biggest in the country! A very embarrassing PR story for the chain was all down to a change in supplier not being able to deliver the large quantities required.

It was the #ChickenCrisis we weren’t expecting when KFC stores started running out of chicken, and then took a worryingly long time (days turned into weeks!) to finally get enough stock to start selling again. It was an absolute nightmare for KFC – in every sense.

But what made them a winner for me was their response. Honesty and humility go a long way in my book, but sprinkle a touch of humour on top (in the right tone) and you’re on to a winner. 

The brilliantly simple reordering of KFC, to the near expletive FCK set the tone just right for the letter that followed. Along with that, was a perfectly written letter written in everyday, conversational language that struck just the right tone for the moment.

KFChill

kfc gravy

It was the launch of a limited edition candle that both smells and looks like gravy – yum? The brand has become an expert in pairing humour with creativity, and went on to launch the delectable candle as part of its KFChill experience.

Along with custom made video and audio content of frying chicken, simmering gravy and sizzling bacon designed to help customers ‘chill’ for Mindfulness Day, the campaign was effective and gaining lots of traction online. This was then boosted with the addition of the limited edition gravy candle.

Revealed to the nation on Blue Monday, it allowed KFC to tap into a new demographic and showcase their best playful side to those outside of their core audience. 

I mean, who wouldn’t want their house smelling of gravy, but not just any gravy, KFC gravy.

The Clean Eating Burger

As a brand that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and for a fast-food chain, what better way to do so than creating a fake clean eating burger? 

With the creation of a fake food blogger (including 40k fake followers), it was KFC’s turn to tap into the ‘clean eating’ trend that had started to dominate the foodie world – but with a twist, of course. The new clean eating burger was actually positioned alongside the actual new burger, the Dirty Louisiana burger, a juxtaposition to the ‘boring’ trend.

Despite the expected backlash from riding off the clean eating trend with something that was the complete opposite, the campaign was a clear success for KFC with its new burger and beat its sales targets by 39%. 

There are some sure-fire ways to get people talking – and provoking people (in the right way) is definitely one!

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