Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Oprah, KFC, and Free Grilled Chicken

If you haven't heard by now, KFC now sells grilled chicken and Oprah Winfrey is allowing people to download free coupons via and The coupons are for a free 2-piece meal with 2 sides and a biscuit.

Of course, the promotion has been a huge success. People are twittering about it, they're talking about it, and they're emailing the coupon to everyone they know. And the media is just buzzing on what may be KFC's great PR strategy ever.

I have to admit that it's a really good publicity stunt, and even more - the grilled chicken actually tastes very, very good. KFC will surely benefit greatly from the promotion, and the newly added item to their menu.

Unfortunately, every publicity stunt comes with a little risk - and sometimes it will backfire.

Animal rights leaders are criticizing Oprah about her choice to promote KFC due to her stance on animal cruelty. PETA, who awarded Oprah the "Person of the Year" award, is particularly upset. We all know that KFC has a bad record for mistreating animals.

Something else that went wrong, was that many KFC restaurants ran out of chicken. Apparently, the promotional campaign was a little too popular and many people were turned down because they were simply sold out.

I think, however, that those two overlooked mishaps won't do much damage to KFC. I think overall they hit the jackpot, and will see a steady increase in sales. The grilled chicken concept was a great idea, and the benefits of that PR stunt will carry on for a long time.

Of course, Popeyes will be selling grilled chicken too by the end of the week.


  1. Whoops! Spoke to soon there Dante. According to CNN's latest report, KFC is in damage control mode:

    Great lesson though for product providers. Someone didn't properly estimate demand to include additional staffing to man lines let alone to service the amount of customers who flooded KFC's across the nation wanting a free meal.

    Unless O foot the bill, I'm sure money spent providing free meals along with damage control and the rainchecks will exceed short-term ROI. When the dust settles later (perhaps early summer) word-of-mouth could kick in for picnics, parties, etc.

    Any time you're dealing with Oprah you HAVE TO put a cap on offers to include numbering coupons so that people don't make several copies and pass it along to friends who could not download, which is something I know was happening.

  2. KFC must be trying to compete with the delicious McRib sandwich from McDonald's; it's hard to resist those yummy painted-on grill-lines...

  3. Hence with that power comes risk. However, I think it was a great PR stunt and I think Oprah was sincerely trying to help the people but may have forgotten with her name there are some folks who just want to cash in so to speak on attention for themselves. Thanks for sharing your take.