KFC's stupidity shines on global stage with United Nations stunt

Posted on Thu Oct 22 2009

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The United Nations is a pretty important organization. In its pursuit of social progress, human rights and peaceful resolutions to the world's conflicts, it's got a lot on its plate. Does it really need a helping of grilled chicken, too? Kentucky Fried Chicken thinks so. In its latest cry for attention, the nation's top chicken chain has sent a letter to the UN Secretary General requesting that "Grilled Nation" earn a seat at the organization's table. ("Grilled Nation" is the name KFC has given to the 60 million people who have allegedly tried its grilled chicken. Not to mention a lame rip-off of Colbert Nation.) The letter asks that the Secretary General call a special lunch break so that UN member can "unthink" their regular lunch routines. This promotion is so incredibly lame that KFC should unthink the agency that came up with it, as well as the strategy of steering people away from fried food, which is still its specialty. The stupidity will get ratcheted up another level on Monday, which has been declared "UNFry Day." Consumers will get another stab at some free chicken at 5,000 KFCs. Don't tell Oprah.

—Posted by Kenneth Hein

KFC closing some restaurants in unusual hunger-relief campaign

Posted on Tue Sep 29 2009

KFC customers in Louisville, Ky., experienced an odd occurrence at lunchtime today. When they went to get their fried-chicken fix, they found that KFC was closed. Did it have to do with a health-code violation or something equally ominous? Actually, quite the opposite. To support World Hunger Relief, KFC is closing several restaurants through the month of October and converting them into "World Hunger Relief Kitchens." Employees from these locations will be serving free Kentucky Grilled Chicken at local food pantries. "The store closings are aimed not only to feed the hungry today but also to raise awareness for an ongoing World Hunger Relief fundraising initiative for the remainder of the month," said the company in a statement. It will also be collecting donations throughout the month, and Christina Aguilera is helping out with the 60-second PSA posted above.

—Posted by Kenneth Hein

KFC hits the water with a 'float-thru' restaurant on Lake Michigan

Posted on Mon Aug 31 2009

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Over the weekend, KFC's first "float-thru" restaurant enjoyed its maiden voyage on Lake Michigan, "offering captains and deckhands alike a taste of southern hospitality" in the form of free lunches. The ship was bobbing around off Oak Street Beach in Chicago, where KFC happened to be sponsoring a pro-volleyball contest. They don't say how the food got from the KFC ship to the salivating boaters and jet-skiers. Hopefully some kind of catapult delivery system was used, as you wouldn't want to get too close to a floating KFC kitchen. In the unlikely event that the ship was struck and subsequently sank, hopefully they had lots of Dawn dishwashing soap on hand to de-grease the marine life.

—Posted by Tim Nudd

What is this odd KFC sandwich, and should you be scared of it?

Posted on Wed Aug 26 2009
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KFC's new Double Down sandwich raises a lot of questions: Is a sandwich truly a sandwich if it contains no bread? How do you eat this without getting your hands all greasy? Who's it for? Atkins fans? Gastronomic daredevils? Does this thing—which contains two fried chicken fillets, two slices of cheese and two strips of bacon—really clock in at fewer than 600 calories, as KFC claims? Consumers in Providence, R.I., and Omaha, Neb., may be mulling these questions, since those are the only two places you can buy the item right now. But KFC appears to be, uh, greasing the wheels for a national entry. There's a TV ad from Draftfcb, Chicago, that shows a bunch of guys complaining in helium voices that they're tired of chicken sandwiches that have a big bun and little in the way of chicken. Then the Double Down comes along, and they start speaking normally. Despite its limited introduction, the sandwich has gotten considerable buzz. A YouTube version of the Draftfcb ad has gotten more than 180,000 views, and a Fox News report has garnered more than 80,000. That anchor couldn't help musing that this may be the best thing since sliced bread.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

Delonte West and runty little minion freestyle their love for KFC

Posted on Thu Aug 6 2009

Are people running out of things to sing about? Or are fast feeders just really good at getting their message out to Gen Y? First, we had Pharrell endorsing McDondald's back in March with an impromptu song-and-dance routine. Then, in June, Das Racist came out with their own tribute to the charms of the combined Pizza Hut/Taco Bell. Now, NBA star and credible rapper Delonte West has released a paean to KFC, giving a special shoutout to the chain's new grilled-chicken offerings, though he also works in a plug for Chipotle, among others. My favorite part of the video is the guy next to Delonte, whose role seems to be to repeat the last word of whatever sentence Delonte has just finished. If there's a John Oates of rap, this guy is it.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

KFC's Roger Eaton upbeat in apology for grilled-chicken fiasco

Posted on Mon May 11 2009

When fast feeders are trying to sell you something, they roll out the corporate mascot. But when it comes time to apologize, that appears to be the president's job. In April, Domino's president Patrick Doyle was the go-to guy for the mea culpa after "team members" at a Domino's in North Carolina tried to pull off a "funny YouTube" hoax by filming themselves putting boogers in customers' food. Now, a month later, KFC president Roger Eaton is the public whipping boy for his chain after many locations ran out of grilled chicken last Wednesday after Oprah Winfrey pointed America to some free online coupons. How did Eaton do? Well, in his favor, he looks directly at the camera, which is a nice change from Doyle, who appeared to be addressing the offscreen guy who holds the boom mike. Eaton's main problem is that he doesn't sound all that Kentucky. He's apparently from South Africa, and his strange-to-Americans accent has already been parodied in another unfunny YouTube hoax. Aside from that, Doyle is way too cheerful. You messed up, mate! Stop making it sound like you're selling us a used car.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

Anyone else feel a little weird about Oprah's big KFC giveaway?

Posted on Wed May 6 2009

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Oprah walks into a KFC ... No, it's not the beginning of a racially insensitive joke, Oprah Winfrey is actually promoting KFC's new grilled chicken by doing what she does best: giving it away. You can get up to four free two-piece chicken meals with two sides and a biscuit by going to UnthinkKFC.com today (before 11 p.m. EST) and printing your coupons, which can be used anytime before May 19 (excluding Mother's Day, because you're a total cheapskate if you take your mom out for free chicken). That is a good deal, but the deal is not what I'm interested in. No one is uppity about this yet, and my question is: Why is it cool for Oprah to back KFC when there's something horribly wrong with Obama Fingers fried chicken and the Obama Fried Chicken restaurants? Does the fact that the chicken is grilled, not fried, mean that that the promotion doesn't have anything to do with race? Or is it that Oprah is a willing participant in the chicken giveaway? Now, I'm not going to debate the legitimacy of the stereotype that black people like fried chicken. However the two unrelated things were associated, somewhere along the line it happened, and now it's foolish to ignore that the association exists or debate whether it should. Oprah connects herself with all that baggage when she aligns her brand with Kentucky Fried Chicken. Even if it's all about "rethinking" or "unthinking," we've got to think the initial thought in order to rethink or unthink it. It's just a bit confusing why she would risk the negative association, but I'm sure her brand will survive. As long as next week's giveaway doesn't make us rethink watermelon.

—Posted by Rebecca Cullers

El Pollo Loco accuses KFC executives of 'pathetic' prank calling

Posted on Tue May 5 2009

El Pollo Loco's grilled-chicken challenge to KFC, which started off as your run-of-the-mill goading campaign, is actually getting interesting—thanks to some apparently boneheaded moves by KFC execs. Since KFC entered its turf, EPL has repeatedly asked its rival to participate in a grilled-chicken taste test to see whose product is better. KFC still hasn't officially responded. But this video alleges that execs from KFC corporate have been calling EPL's consumer-hotline number at (877) EPL-STEVE and leaving messages pretending to be ordinary folks impressed by KFC's new grub. The execs pretend to be from California, but the caller ID suggests otherwise—as do their ignorance of California slang. "Prank calls from KFC. How professional. Guess if they had better grilled chicken, they wouldn't be so chicken," the video concludes. KFC doesn't seem to be taking the allegation seriously. A rep there even worked a pun into her response telling Chain Leader magazine, "We're 'grilling' our employees to see if any have been doing any undercover dialing."

—Posted by Elaine Wong

El Pollo Loco and KFC gear up for the great grilled-chicken wars

Posted on Mon Apr 27 2009

Holy smoke. The chicken wars have gone up in flames. Flame-grilled chicken restaurant El Pollo Loco has thrown down the gauntlet and challenged its new competitor in the category, KFC, to a taste test. (Yes, the Colonel makes grilled chicken now.) El Pollo Loco CEO Steve Carley issues the challenge in the video shown here. And you will have a chance to compare them. KFC is doling out free, juicy pieces of its new menu item today; El Pollo Loco has its own free giveaway scheduled for Tuesday. This challenge has gone to the, er, birds.

—Posted by Elaine Wong

Will KFC's grilled chicken do better than its roasted chicken?

Posted on Wed Apr 15 2009

It was a glorious, sunny day. At the famously luxurious Tavern on the Green in New York, the china and silver were set and the meal was about to be served. What was on the menu? Kentucky Fried Chicken's new roasted chicken. The year was 2004, and the fried-chicken chain was unveiling a roasted version amid an outcry against its use of trans-fats. Its execs spared no expense to introduce the new innovation to the press. It was an unusual experience, because I was seated with many of KFC's top dogs and the frankly the product wasn't very good. I didn't need to spit in into my napkin or anything, but the fact was, it tasted like non-roasted chicken made to taste like roasted chicken. They weren't running around adding rotisseries to their locations (apparently they tried this in the  early '90s as well), they just formulated some sort of roast flavoring and consistency. It was not unlike airplane plane food or a microwave dinner. Needless to say, it wasn't on the menu long. That's why yesterday's announcement that KFC is now grilling chicken was so interesting. The press release called it "the biggest KFC announcement in the history of the brand." New ads from chefs G. Gavin and Sandra Lee show them raving about the grilled chicken, which comes in a two-piece meal for $3.99. The messaging invites us to "Taste the unfried side." And this time around, the unveiling was held at the Friar's Club—which, ironically, is known for its roasts. Hopefully for KFC's sake this product won't turn out to be a joke, too.

—Posted by Kenneth Hein


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