Chicken Giveaway Not Root of KFC Problem

The now infamous KFC grilled chicken giveaway will go down in the annals of marketing as a botched promotion. In a matter of a few days, KFC managed to anger customers, stress employees, negatively impact franchisees, and get lampooned in the blogosphere. What did it accomplish? Nothing, so far. But, there is a chance for redemption if KFC understands that the promotion, though flawed, was not the root of its problem.

KFC is known for fried chicken, with fried being the key word. The company has tried vigorously to distance itself from the negative associations with fried. First, it changed its name to the initials KFC so that the word "fried" would not be uttered any more than necessary. Then, there was the short-lived ad campaign in which it was suggested that eating KFC products had some health benefits for those persons on a high protein diet.

A brand cannot run away from its heritage. KFC will never be known as a "good for you" brand. It is not alone; fast feeders like McDonald's and Burger King will not ascend to that level, either. The difference is McDonald's and Burger King are finding ways to remain relevant with consumers. McDonald's has added healthy menu options, but it remains focused on its core items. A brand cannot be all things to all people. For KFC, it faces a tremendous challenge if it wants to appeal to health conscious consumers with grilled products and remain known as a purveyor of fried chicken.

Link" Ad Age - "Grilled Chicken a Kentucky Fried Fiasco"

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