KFC could bring some fried festivities to your town this season

By David Kiefaber on Fri Dec 10 2010


Not content with writing sandwich names on college girls' butts or dangling scholarship money in front of high-school tweeters, KFC is heading to the streets to promote its 12-piece Festive Feast meal. They've picked Dec. 21, the gloomiest day of the year, to distribute mini-buckets full of gift cards around whichever city deserves it the most—that will be determined by fans writing in to explain (in 300 words or less) why they deserve a visit from Colonel Santa. You might win your town $20,000 (that seems to be a magic number for KFC) in prizes. There's even a "So Good" Santa who will give out the prizes—he's a Colonel Sanders look-alike who will be dressed as Santa, so he'll wind up sorta looking like this. It's nice that KFC is putting so much effort into this marketing stunt, but they'll need to change up their requirements pretty soon. We can only petition our benevolent overlords for handouts so often before the novelty wears off.

McDonald's wants you to talk about the McRib more than eat it

By David Kiefaber on Wed Nov 24 2010


One drawback of being a global megabrand like McDonald's is that it's hard to get people excited about you. Consistency, it seems, breeds stagnation over time. That's why there's so much social-media focus on the McRib this time around—it stimulates conversation, so why not make that process easier for consumers? Whether or not they buy, or even like, the sandwich is irrelevant; it's less expensive than creating a new menu item, and it keeps McDonald's fresh in the minds of people who've already decided to eat out. The beauty of the McRib is that, whether people love it or think it's gross (and that's a fairly even split), it gets them talking. Plus, the McRib hasn't been on the menu since 1994, so there's an entire generation of fast-food junkies who've never had one, and some of them probably haven't even heard of it. Now, maybe if we eat enough McRibs, they'll bring back the Arch Deluxe.

KFC offers $20,000 in college money to best high-school tweeter

By David Kiefaber on Thu Nov 18 2010


I've never considered KFC an institution that values learning (they're barely an institution that values food), but they must think differently. After all, they're offering a $20,000 Colonel's Scholars scholarship to the high-school senior who tweets the most compelling case for deserving it. The 140-character limit includes the #KFCScholar hashtag, by the way. The winner, who must be a high-school senior with a minimum 2.75 GPA, will get up to $5,000 a year to put toward an accredited public university in their home state. That more or less amounts to free college, unless the winner lives in California. KFC isn't the first organization to give away college money through Twitter—CollegeScholarships.org introduced a tweet-based award last year—but it's hard to measure creativity, need and drive (KFC's three required elements) in 140 characters. In fact, one could surmise that winning the scholarship would have more to do with dumb luck than actual merit. Still, if you're going to enter this contest, telling them how much you love their food probably won't help you. You'll be better off telling them how good you'll look in those Double Down sweatpants.

Want to get married at McDonald's? Soon, you could be in luck

By T.L. Stanley on Fri Oct 15 2010


You can set up a wedding registry at the 99 Cents Only store. So, why not complete the white-trash/recession-minded circle with a wedding at McDonald's? Too bad such a thing is not in the U.S. just yet, but the fast-food restaurant will start offering wedding packages in its Hong Kong locations early next year. Ronald McDonald might even show up! (Just don't ask him to officiate. He hasn't done the Internet preacher course yet.) Reps said they started the wedding program in response to "about 10 calls a month" from people who wanted to celebrate their nuptials under the Golden Arches. Not one to let a business opportunity pass, McDonald's is setting up packages that include "cakes" made of burgers or apple pies, and French fries to be used, Lady and the Tramp style, for the happy couple's kiss. McMazel tov!

KFC locates more college girls' butts for Double Down promotion

By T.L. Stanley on Tue Oct 12 2010


Eat a fat-, salt- and calorie-ridden Double Down, and it'll end up directly on your rear end. Is that the message of KFC's just-expanded college marketing campaign? Nah, just my interpretation. The real reason the marketer is hiring more cute co-eds to wear sweatpants with "Double Down" stamped on the posterior is that heavy fast-food users—and likely Double Down heart-attack candidates—are guys who spend inordinate amounts of time staring at girls' butts. So base. So brilliant! The campaign, which AdFreak covered previously, is moving on to Indiana University, Colorado State and James Madison University, where young women will get $500 to hand out KFC coupons while using their backsides as walking advertisements. Some 600 women applied for the job through the marketer's Facebook page, even though a branding expert has said it makes KFC look like "the Hooters of fast food." So, is this just another demeaning brick in the wall, or will it be a B-school case study in the power of bad PR?

Dream about Burger King all night on your breakfast-menu pillow

By Noreen O'Leary on Wed Oct 6 2010


Well, if you can't sell Whoppers, why not try bed linens? In a new promotion, Burger King is peddling pillow cases at BKPillow.com that tout the chain's new breakfast menu and use images of offerings like the Ciabatta Club Sandwich. BK posted a nearly 4 percent decline in North American sales in fiscal 2010 and is having a tougher time than its fast-food competitors in the recession. (The company is in the process of being sold to a hedge fund backed by Brazilian investors.) Already this week, BK has sold 749 of the pillowcases at $5.99 a shot on eBay. While we consider this the stuff of nightmares, for those of you not totally creeped out by the "Wake up with the King" ads, you can cuddle up to the King's face featured on the pillow's opposite side.

Behold the farthest spot you can get from McDonald's in the U.S.

By David Kiefaber on Tue Oct 5 2010


Stephen Von Worley of DataPointed.net took a trip, which I'm hoping he writes off as a business expense, to a remote patch of northwest Nevada that is supposedly the farthest you can get (some 115 miles) from a McDonald's in the lower 48 states of the U.S. He located the "McFarthest Spot" with GPS technology, and found it to be an ideal camping spot (upon purchasing a box of Mickey D's, that is). He made a video (posted after the jump), and as he stomped around the godforsaken desert, I ruminated upon just how strong the McDonald's brand is, as measured by points of impact with the consumer. Not only do they have ridiculous market share and strong advertising, but you literally have to forsake civilization to find a place with no Golden Arches on the horizon. Still, Von Worley is clearly a fan, considering how many Big Macs he brought with him. He's like Walden with heart disease. Via Consumerist.

Continue reading "Behold the farthest spot you can get from McDonald's in the U.S." »

Frightful changes are in store for Chipotle's Halloween giveaway

By Todd Wasserman on Wed Sep 29 2010


Fans of Halloween promotions and bad puns will be saddened to hear that this year, Chipotle is overhauling its long-running "Boo-rito" giveaway. Under the promo, as many college students know, you get a free burrito if you show up at a Chipotle location dressed as one. But Mark Crumpacker, Chipotle's CMO, told attendees at an Advertising Week session on Wednesday that Boo-rito will look different this year. For one thing, you now have to dress up like a processed food item (a Twinkie, for example) to claim the prize. For another, you have to pony up $2 as well. The cash goes to fund a Jamie Oliver charity (Crumpacker didn't specify which one). The nominal charge and the more challenging costume will no doubt result in fewer freeloaders this year. Crumpacker said the promo costs Chipotle about $3 million. We say: Boo!

Domino's testing breakfast pizza on (who else?) college students

By T.L. Stanley on Wed Sep 29 2010


Pizza for breakfast has always been good in a greasy, morning-after kind of way. But Domino's, the folks who brought us the Oreo-cookie pizza a few years back, is aiming at (no surprise here) the college crowd with an a.m. version of its p.m. staple. The breakfast pizza, now sold at one franchise near the University of Dayton in Ohio, consists of cheese and eggs on a pizza crust, plus toppings like sausage, jalapenos, ham, bacon and onions. Kind of like a flat omelet with a lot more carbs. It costs $7.99 at the restaurant, which is supposedly the only 24-hour Domino's in the country. (It also serves coffee and orange juice for the early risers and all-nighters.) The marketer is keeping an eye on sales to see if the product could expand to other locations. I wonder if this was an exhaustively researched offering or an opportunistic one, predicated on the reality that students will eat almost anything. I guess we'll find out over time, if Domino's has to admit one day that the breakfast pizza sucked.

Pizza Hut spots to show what fine, fine people its employees are

By Elena Malykhina on Tue Sep 21 2010


Pizza Hut wants the public to know that its employees are quality citizens who not only enjoy working for the chain but also consume its food. In an effort to spread the message, Pizza Hut has kicked off a campaign that features real employees chosen through video submissions. Eight made the cut for having the best personalities and for telling their "favorites" story—in which they talk about which Pizza Hut offering they like the most. The effort is from The Martin Agency, which created its first campaign for the pizza brand back in February, featuring customers talking about their own pizza favorites. Seems Pizza Hut is sticking to the theme of testimonials, while just adding employees to the mix. But the chain also could be alluding to the criticism that rival Domino's faced last spring when two employees were caught doing disgusting things with Domino's food in a YouTube video. It's the oldest marketing tactic in the book, although Pizza Hut took the diplomatic approach and didn't attack any competitors directly in the new campaign.



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