Monday, May 11, 2009

Deconstructing the Great Grilled Chicken Debacle of Aught Nine

Advertising Age weighed in with its take on the KFC incident last week. The tenor of their piece is that the launch was a failure because of KFC's inability to meet demand. I was surprised to read that franchisees were expected to pony up and foot the bill for the free food served at their stores; this might explain some of the crankiness that consumers were complaining about, and it certainly explains the lack of enthusiasm I heard at the KFC store I visited.

Give it a read and let me know what you think. It's hard for me to say whether or not the brand actually suffered because I don't thoroughly know their brand value proposition. However, given that they were already stretching their brand, which is known for fried chicken, into the realm of grilled chicken, and given that they disappointed a slew of customers, I think they will likely have to think long and hard before they deploy their next major promotion.

My favorite line from the article: "By Friday, the day after KFC pulled the promotion, NPR was calling KFC 'the James Frey of fast food,' referring to the author of a memoir praised by Ms. Winfrey that was later exposed as fiction." When you've got National Public Radio ragging your behind, I think something must have gone terribly wrong.

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