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.

3 ways Covid-19 has accelerated the adoption of technology

The unprecedented effects of Covid-19 created a stop to ‘normality’ as we knew it. Every industry has had to re-evaluate their priorities, with developing a digital strategy high up on the list.

Despite how devastating these times have been for families and businesses, a silver lining is the innovation that has sparked from organisations having to improvise and experiment how they conduct their day-to-day operations.

Telehealth

Telehealth has been an essential tool against Covid-19. It has allowed for patients to see a doctor for when it is absolutely necessary, therefore limiting exposure and risk of spreading of the virus.

Future robotic healthcare will address a scarcity of healthcare professionals able to treat patients without endangering themselves.

However there are still limitations, as telehealth is only useful if patients are able to receive the same level of care. A recent study by Fingercare, found 58% of healthcare professionals were concerned about maintaining patients care in the long term.

E-commerce

Retailers without an online presence have been hardest hit, Primark for an example, lost a staggering £650M in sales.

According to the ONS, the amount of goods sold in March fell by 18.1% in the UK. However, online shopping as a proportion of all retail reached a record high of 30.7%. The retailers who have managed to make the shift online have been able to manage customers needs better.

Developing a digital identity is sometimes neglected by many organisations. Coivd has forced organisations to see the value of investing and developing an online presence.

Remotework

In the past 50 years there has been the rise and fall of office culture. Previously, it was common to see remote working no more than once a week in most companies. However, the virus has increased this shift- meaning office life will quite literally never be the same again.

Twitter, Facebook and Upace has released that they are allowing all their staff to work from home forever. Flexible working seems like it it is here to stay for good, and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Cyber security has been more important than ever as global attacks have been on the increase. Hackers are already shifting their targets from relatively well-defended corporate environments to home offices and other offsite locations that lack similarly strong protections.

Summary

Technology is helping to fight the battle against Covid-19.

It appears that many companies that have been able to pivot and embrace digital transformation. However, the recent changes has come as a wakeup call for those who aren’t able to keep up, as Covid has just highlighted the fragility of modern times.

What are some of the ways you think digital transformation will affect the marketing industry? Feel free to leave a comment below.