What Does KFC & Oprah Get?

by Jay Deragon on 05/07/2009

oprahkfcI received a call from the local news television station asking to interview me concerning the recent Twitter campaign initiated between Oprah and KFC.  Oprah put out and offer to her twitter followers and to her web site visitors that offered a coupon, printed from her site, in which participants would get a free two piece chicken lunch with two side dishes, no drink.  The campaign started on May 5 and ends May 19th.

The second day of the campaign showed KFC’s in Chicago and New York running out of chicken to serve.  My local KFC, which I visited with the news reporter, had put up a sign limiting the offer to a time period, 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm. When the store manager was asked why he simply said “we can’t handle the volume of people showing up wanting their free meal.”  Now just imagine what was going on at the hundreds of KFC stores all over the country……a traffic spike unimaginable and unthinkable.

So How Does KFC Make Any Money?

The local reporter asked me “how does KFC make any money giving away free meals?”.  This type of question is the very issue that perplexes the minds of traditional business leaders and the market at large.  How can a business make money from “free”.  Now really think about it and consider the following:

  1. The rush on KFC is being tweeted daily at the rate of 1,200 tweets per hour
  2. Main street media is writing about this campaign everywhere
  3. Broadcast news is featuring this story during the peak news hours all over the US
  4. The story will bleed for months after the campaign as the media learns the results
  5. The unique approach, using social media to launch such a campaign, has millions watching, conversing and waiting for the results
  6. When I took my coupon, given to me by the news station, up to the counter I also ordered a drink, get it? $$$$
  7. I observed almost 90% of the others doing the same when they turned in their coupon $$$$$
  8. The campaign was launched during the month in which many schools will be closing for the season.  Ever heard of repeat business?
  9. The “buzz” and continued “buzz” of the campaign could never be duplicated through traditional advertising means, never.
  10. The cost of the two pieces of chicken and two sides was nothing compared to the value of the “pull into the local KFC
  11. KFC introduced a new version of chicken which got introduced to, who knows, many millions
  12. Oprah got her name pushed out everywhere by everyone and thus got significant spikes in traffic to her web site
  13. Her web site offers a lot more than coupons for a free chicken meal, get it?
  14. The story ranked #5 on Twitter just three days into the campaign, do you think it got attention?
  15. The “free meal” drew an attraction to an old brand that needed to build a new affinity to its audience, old and new
  16. The draw created action, try our new chicken and buy a drink, oh yeah, come on back sometime and try our other meals

Do you get it yet? You should by now.  Word of mouth, creativity and social exchange and content distribution create social currency that turns into revenue. Now do you get it?
If not stay tuned for the new wave of brands creating social currency simply by leveraging conversations. Get it?  If not read the five strategic elements of social media.  Still don’t get it? No, oh well I tried.

What say you?


Nomad May 11, 2009 at 4:53 pm

Kentucky Fried Chicken serving grilled chicken? hopefully they won’t have to change their name to KF&GC (awkward!)

Clasonda Grandison May 9, 2009 at 9:22 am

KFC and Oprah got it right. Didn’t you know! Read http://bit.ly/iK9v2
Now KFC’s giving rainchecks. See kfc.com.

dan May 8, 2009 at 6:36 pm

Think outside the bun

Business 3.0 Tech. May 8, 2009 at 11:09 am

What Does KFC & Oprah Get? http://bit.ly/iK9v2
If this doesn’t make sense to you, go hide under a rock

carterfsmith May 8, 2009 at 10:13 am

Never underestimate the power of the network! http://bit.ly/iK9v2

Carter F Smith May 8, 2009 at 10:16 am

This was a brilliant strategy by traditional marketers — clearly those who have a clue about social network marketing were not involved.

Never underestimate the power of the network!

I received this notice by text on Wed, May 6, 2009 — 4:45 pm


Nick Stekovic May 8, 2009 at 6:48 am

What Does KFC & Oprah Get? | The Relationship Economy…… http://bit.ly/BG0B5

Rob Harvey May 8, 2009 at 12:14 am

What Does KFC & Oprah Get?: Do you get it yet? You should by now. Word of mouth, creativity and social exchange .. http://bit.ly/wp4Dd

Brian C. Citizen May 7, 2009 at 9:46 pm

Daily Deragon Dose: What Does KFC & Oprah Get? http://tinyurl.com/ccaqfk

smconnection May 7, 2009 at 9:19 pm

What Does KFC & Oprah Get?: Do you get it yet? You should by now. Word of mouth, creativity and social exchange .. http://tinyurl.com/ccaqfk

JDeragon May 7, 2009 at 10:01 pm

New blog post: What Does KFC & Oprah Get? http://bit.ly/iK9v2

Angela Suddarth May 7, 2009 at 7:41 pm

What Does KFC & Oprah Get?: Do you get it yet? You should by now. Word of mouth, creativity and social exchange .. http://tinyurl.com/ccaqfk

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