What it says on the tin
It’s easy to critisise a bad campaign; especially one that’s lying down, as is the case with the latest KFC campaign. However, it is symptomatic of a few things that frustrate me about the industry as a whole: over-promising and under-delivering, lack of strategic thinking, and inauthenticity.
If you only read the press release (quoted in Mumbrella), you’d be forgiven for expecting a visionary and groundbreaking campaign. Phrases include: “…one of the best and biggest examples of music collaboration…”; “…daily six-month process to understand what KFC wants to achieve and how the Maddens can help…”; “…constantly striving to find new and engaging ways to connect with consumers…”, and, to finish it off, “…bold and ambitious campaign that is genuinely pushing boundaries”. Talk about over-promising and under-delivering.
Fortunately, the brand with the deepest pockets doesn’t automatically win. Simply teaming up with a band the kidz like isn’t bold and it certainly doesn’t push any boundaries. There may be some connection between cricket (which they’ve sponsored for years) and KFC that I’m not aware of, but a pattern is certainly emerging of a company whose strategy consists of latching on to whatever people are into, sticking their logo on it, and pray for a positive association. Problem is there’s no relevant connection between KFC and cricket or the Maddens, other than a shared customer base. KFC wants to stick their logo on the the emotions of having fun and a good time, but thinking they can own those is just arrogance. It will certainly have a positive short-term effect, but in order to sustain this effect they’ll have to keep poring money into similar activities. With a connection they’d achieve a longer lasting effect.
Why do brands keep patronising their customers by asking (bribing) them to upload stuff on Facebook, as if creating content for them is an act of generosity for which they should be grateful? And the theme of this interaction: “why Australia is so good to live in” (hello LG) is the least contentious and lowest-common-denominator topic there is. The fact that it’s an American brand featuring American artists just add to the hollow feeling. Judging by the enthusiasm of the KFC spokeswoman, however, you’d think KFC themselves invented Facebook and discovered, through rigorous research, that Australia is in fact a great place to live. Well, it’s certainly not because of KFC.
To confirm the lack of authenticity it’s revealed that Joel or Benji (or both?) used to be vegetarians and associated with PETA. The subsequent damage control (quoted in Mumbrella) does little to save face.