Poor KFC. It seemed like such a good idea. New product; launch it with a giveaway. And then another, with a big-name celeb like Oprah to announce the coupons. KFC gets foot traffic; the people of America get free chicken. (And Oprah gets a few million more hits on her website.) So simple, right?
Not quite. First, the website couldn’t handle the sudden online crush of chicken-seekers, making downloading the coupon impossible. Then, a KFC near New York’s Grand Central Station refused to honor customer coupons—despite, some report, clearly visible chicken waiting behind the counter—sparking a pretty intense outcry. (But not a "riot," KFC insists.) And to add insult to injury, California-based chain El Pollo Loco started a giveaway of their own grilled chicken, asking customers to try both and pick a favorite. The result? El Pollo Loco alleges that prank calls were made to their hotline—and traced back to KFC employees.
But the upside? Nothing generates talk like a good scandal. At this point, there can't be too many people out there who don't know that KFC's serving grilled chicken. And isn't marketing the whole point?