KFC-Gate ’09 = Epic Fail
KFC oughta consider making some changes to its top executives, like for real. I know I wrote Oprah a sternly-worded letter but the people who deserve a tongue lashing is KFC’s Public Relations team. Not only for its lack of foresight, but for the lack of strategy in rolling out this “FREE Grilled Chicken” deal.
As a Marketer myself, I see all TYPES of wrong that was done that has resulted in the newest news. Today, the Consumerist posted a statement released by KFC’s President saying “We are so sorry, but due to the overwhelming response to our FREE Kentucky Grilled Chicken meal coupon, we can no longer redeem the free coupon at this time. But we will honor our commitment to giving you a free Kentucky Grilled Chicken meal.” Oh and how will they honor this? They will issue folks rainchecks and have them mail it to Corporate for a coupon. Right. Way to punk out, KFC.
Here is where they went wrong resulting in this EPIC FAIL.
1. Underestimating the Power of Oprah – Have they learned NOTHING from these past 20 years of her show being on the air? Oprah is one of THE most influential people in the world. She tells people to do something, and best believe it is DONE. Oprah: “I need you all to shave your heads. Why? Just because I’m bored.” Watch her next show’s entire audience be clones of Amber Rose. The chick has single-handedly taken many books from relative obscurity to the top of the BestSeller’s List. Any products she mentions on her show, even in passing, becomes the hottest items. Oprah has the ear of the most important consumers in the world: Moms.
I’m not sure the response KFC thought would happen when Oprah endorsed this giveaway, but it’s clear that they were not prepared.
2. F.R.E.A.M. (FREE Rules Everything Around Me) - This is the part that kills me. People LOVE the Free.99 more than anything. Folks will go for anything just because it’s free. Shoot, I’m liable to go get a shot just because it’s free. People are attracted to FREE like R. Kelly is attracted to Little Girls. DUH KFC! People are going to show up by the DROVES! Then it was free CHICKEN, the food that most folks love! KFC, you dumber than a door know. I ain’t lying.
3. A Multi-day giveaway – This is where KFC REALLY shot themselves in the foot with a BB Gun. Why in the hot Hades would they have a FREE giveaway that lasted multiple days? This is not only unnecessary when doing something FREE (since one day is all you need to capture folks’ attention if they aren’t paying for something), but it is ridiculously fiscally irresponsible. The amount of chicken they were potentially to give away would not even add up to the return they get. What made this multi-day giveway even WORSE was…
4. PDF coupon – After enough time past and Oprah’s website was at capacity because of all the coupon downloads, KFC produced a PDF version of the coupon. This was by far THE dumbest thing they could have done. A PDF coupon with no way to keep codes exclusive to one use means folks could make infinite copies of coupons. Who’s idea was this? He/she needs to be fired faster than trigger happy NYPD. I mean, really. iCan’t with them.
Umm, KFC, y’all need more people (that got sense on your team). This is gonna go down in some Business & Marketing textbook as KFC-Gate 09 (What NOT to do). Lack of strategy, lack of rationale and blatant lack of foresight.
WOMP KFC. F your life.