KFC’s pandemic marketing

As 2020 comes to an end, I’ve reflected on my favourite marketing campaigns. A stand out has to be KFC and how they handled the obstacles the Corona pandemic threw at them.  Many companies took the ‘we’re here for you’ approach, which in my opinion, can come across as a bit disingenuous. KFC on the other hand, were punchy and entertaining.

Before the pandemic hit the first peak in the UK, KFC released the standard Finger Lickin’ good campaign. This received a surprising 163 complaints reported the Advertising Standards Agency in March alone, saying that the ad was inappropriate given the current COVID crisis. 

I’m sure frustration was felt amongst some of the marketing team, who would have spent the past few months working hard to craft the perfect campaign, until…

After 64 years, KFC decided to drop one of the most famous slogans in the world ‘its finger lickin’ good’ to just ‘it’s good’. Where previously ‘finger lickin” would have been, was replaced with blurred words, to furthermore grab the attention of potential customers.

KFC had listened to their customers and acted upon it- marketing in its truest form.

It was a smart move as it made the brand more relevant in the minds of consumers at a low cost, and reinforced the existing slogan by announcing its temporary removal. As shown by the graph above, KFC’s brand awareness rose significantly.

Next up, was charming online contact with loyal customers. During the peak of the first peak of pandemic customers were not able to access any fast food. KFC’s response? #RateMyKFC, an interactive social media campaign which encouraged people to make their own version of KFC wings and post them on Twitter for people to review and criticise.

39% of social media users said they were spending more time on social media during the pandemic and this particular campaign generated hundreds of tweets within the first day.

The subsequent tongue-in-cheek TV ad showed actual mobile phone footage of poorly recreate the wings, with a backdrop of All By Myself by Celine Dion.

Playful self-criticism can work very well for a brand, for instance the well-known Mouldy Burger by Burger King, turning a negative into a positive. A trick I believe Corona beer is missing out on at the moment. For instance, if they were to create a campaign edged with a bit of humour towards people thinking the beer could actually give someone the virus, coupled with donating 10% of their proceeds to a COVID-related charity.

All in all, KFC has shown that the use of levity can go a long way.

British Army targets millennials in new adverts

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The British army has a problem. The National Audit Office report found the number of full-time military personnel was 5.7% short of the required level, and that it would take a minimum of five years to close even part of the gap. As a result, the army has put more funding into their recruitment.

An adapted version of the well known ‘your country needs you’ remodelled for the current generation of potential recruits has been released.

Millennials often get a bad reputation for being self-centred and overly sensitive. The British army however, want to take a different perspective to these negative stereotypes to see the potential strength and qualities that a younger generation can add to them. Take for an example the “SELFIE ADDICTS your army needs you and you confidence”.

A key trend in millennials is the want of a job with purpose. In a recently released statement, Major Gen. Paul Nanson made it clear that their recruitment strategy is to address the potential for greatness that sits below the surface in an interview he said that “The Army sees people differently and we are proud to look beyond the stereotypes and spot the potential in young people, from compassion to self-belief,”.  He also included that “We understand the drive they have to succeed and recognize their need for a bigger sense of purpose in a job where they can do something meaningful.”

So have the army clocked onto something big here and managed to crack their marking strategy?

One important factor to keep in mind is that, who actually identifies themselves as a ‘snowflake’ or ‘phone zombie’? This could cause offence towards the target audience and have a negative impact. It has been rumoured that many members of the army have taken a disliking towards this new style of campaign and the boy used for the “snow flakes” ad has actually resigned since it was released. I am interested to see what other people feel about this so feel free to leave a comment in the section below.

Greggs’ vegan sausage roll campaign

January has arrived, and along comes people’s new year’s resolutions, changes for self-improvement and people plastering ‘new year new me’ all over their social media. One trend that has grown in popularity since 2014 is attempting Veganuary-  meaning to try a vegan diet over January.

Demand for meat-free food increased by a staggering 987% in 2017 (1) and going vegan was predicted to be the biggest food trend in 2018 (2). Fast food chains now have growing pressure to sell vegan and plant based products. PETA released “PETA is calling on Greggs to heed this growing demand, add a vegan sausage roll to the menu, and watch the cruelty-free treats fly off the shelves”.

So what have Greggs done about this?  

First off, the leaked email. Probably one of those savvy marketing ‘accidents’ that companies do for an alternative was of attracting attention. But who cares? It was effective and enticed a devoted group of vegans to anticipate the release.

Next up, the surprise mock Apple-style release

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Source: inews

Poking a bit of fun at themselves, they released dramatic music that could have been in an episode of Game of Thrones, paired up with that classic white packaging along with ‘designed in Newcastle’ over the well known ‘designed in California’. This really has made an entertaining first impression.

It has even caused a tad of controversy over Twitter:

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With Greggs’ social media team responding back with a host of witty responces on their twitter account to people, including big names like Piers Morgan, its really shown that the word is out- resulting in them trending on twitter. The sales numbers over this product will come of much interest to not just me, but other fast food competitors who may be also considering to release a vegan product to their range.