Archive for September, 2010
The nation’s leading fast-food chicken chain, KFC, is up to their public-relation hi-jinx again, offering to upgrade fire hydrants in a handful of cities in exchange for garbing them in promotional material. This follows up on last year’s manhole cover promotion, another great PR generator that didn’t cost much.
PR coups aside, though, KFC has been struggling with lost market share for a while as they try to stay relevant in a world that seems to demand healthier food.
The critical word in that sentence is “seems”. Most of us want to eat more healthily, but are not all that thrilled with the quality of the experience:
Fatty, salty foods still taste a lot better than stuff that is good for us.
What is a marketer to do?
Not what KFC has tried. They overhauled their menu to feature grilled chicken, and generated lots of trial, but lost ground to competitors who were saying nothing about healthier foods. And their franchisees are generating lots of bad publicity by fighting the strategy very publicly.
A comparison to Chick-fil-A is instructive. While KFC struggled to define the competition as fried vs. grilled, Chick-fil-A sent its cows out into our world to relentlessly, entertainingly and simply sell us on the idea of switching from beef to chicken. And they ran these simple ads relentlessly on programming (sports events, for instance) where lots of young, male, fast-food burger-chomping prospects were watching.
Chick-fil-A’s market share has leapt 9% this year while KFC’s was plummeting 6%. Looks like the jury is in on which approach makes more sense.
We all want to eat properly. We just don’t get around to doing it.
KFC’s focus on grilled saw the world as we should be, not as we are, a big mistake for marketers.
On a recent trip to the grocery store, I received one of those annoying “coupons” that isn’t really a coupon at check-out.
The offending offer came courtesy of Bertolli pasta sauce.
Here is the offer structure:
1. Receive this coupon at check-out, after I have done my shopping.
2. On my NEXT trip to the store, buy a bunch of Bertolli sauce. If I buy two or more jars, I get a coupon for $1-3.75 (depending on whether I bought 2, 3, or 4 jars.
3. Come back to the store AGAIN, buy more sauce and finally cash the coupon.
Still with me? This is ridiculous. No consumer offer should ever have more than one hoop to jump through to earn the price discount.
It seems as if the marketing managers at Bertolli were trying to hedge their bets:
-Make a nice offer.
-Limit the financial hit by making it hard to get.
By doing so, they have also minimized the chance that new customers may try their sauce. Read the rest of this entry »