KFC to fill your tummy, then your road

April 8, 2009

I thought this was pretty awesome. Kentucky Fried Chicken offered to repair potholes in roads in five major cities in the U.S; the catch is that they will make it known they did it. While KFC wants to smoothen out our commutes, which is generous of them, they will also be sponsoring these pothoels by placing a KFC stamp on top of the fill-in.

Clever, clever, clever.

KFC sent out a letter to mayors nationwide offerin their services. “In honor of our “Fresh Tastes Best” campaign, we want to come and Re-“Fresh” your roads! The Colonel and his crew are on a mission to help out America and sponsor your city’s “Fresh”ly repaired roads. Every patched pothole comes with the Colonel’s very own stamp of approval.” -Roger Eaton, President of KFC.

Photo Courtesy of The Chicago Tribune Photo Courtesy of The Chicago Tribune

Obviously this is a great promotional idea, that’s a given. But, in which way? Is KFC seeking to place their brand logo on the road for drivers to see? Or is this a nice publicity stunt that drives people like me to talk about them; in turn generating attention.

On the idea of just getting their brand out to more locations, I feel that the attention would go both ways, but probably more towards the negative. If you’re walking by, or driving slow enough to read words on the ground below you, and you see the letters “KFC”, what would you think? You’re either going to think one of four things:
1) Wow, how genius is that!
2) Good thing KFC helped out, government has no money to fill these damn holes!
3) Are you *@&!)^#% kidding me ?! Now I have to look at advertisements on the road too ?!
4) Mmmm bucket of chicken sounds good right now.

While the creativity of their brand placement is clearly present, I think they would also believe that the overall attention would be negative. However, from what I’ve read, the stenciled letters are not permanent, chalk or something. In this case, the logo is only going to last for a little while, and will be remembered more positively, as opposed to getting on the nerves of people who can’t take reading “KFC” everyday on their way to and from work.

On top of that, just the idea in general is worth it. KFC started in their hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, and it may end there. So even if it doesn’t catch on, their generosity is noted, and publicity has clearly been created. Good publicity at that. While performing a needed community service by fixing some roads is greatly approved of and respected, just offering the service can be just as effective.

Head marketer of KFC, Javier Benito, said this is “a perfect example of that rare and optimal occurrence when a company can creatively market itself and help local governments and everyday Americans across the country.” Regardless of how far this goes, KFC has done an excellent job in marketing itself in a new way and creativing positive buzz about their company. I applaud the creative idea of getting the brand out into a new public space, while at the same time helping us out. Because we all know those potholes are extremely annoying; moreso after you’ve had some spicy chicken from KFC and need to get home to the thrown ASAP.


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