Most marketers are familiar with KFC’s hilarious and well-publicized campaigns in the UK and the US, but does the brand have the same whimsical personality in Asia?
It must be both exciting and challenging to work with the KFC brand these days. Following the fast food restaurant’s famous FCK campaign in the UK and Chickendales in the US, marketers seem to have carte blanche to be creative, but, at the same time, consumer expectations have been raised considerably.
But has KFC been able to extend its eccentric and fun-loving brand image to other parts of the world? Below are a few examples of KFC campaigns in Asia that show that KFC’s personality is the same the world over.
Malaysia – Olé Olé Hour
To combat what local marketers felt was a lack of interest in the brand by young consumers, KFC launched a Mexican-inspired dish, the Olé Olé Rice Wrap.
As the product was meant to reflect a fun ‘fiesta’ atmosphere, KFC marketed it with a Facebook Live gameshow, the Olé Olé Hour. During the livestream broadcast, blindfolded celebrities swung sticks at piñatas which looked like KFC products while fans told them what to do in the comments window.
Hong Kong – KFC Concept Store
To attract the influencer generation to the brand in Hong Kong, KFC recently opened a ‘concept store’ in the city’s centre.
The three-storey-high restaurant features a dessert bar, self-ordering kiosks and Instagrammable art everywhere as well as a sizable dining area.
The location also sells food items unavailable elsewhere including a restaurant-worthy grilled chicken dish and the Chizza, a pizza with chicken breast for the crust.
To promote its new location, KFC also created two branded mooncakes for the traditional mid-autumn festival, held in early September.
India – Wax Museum
In India, KFC has partnered with Madame Tussauds to build a shrine of sorts for the company’s founder and the brand’s most famous sandwich in the country, the Zinger.
Located at the famous wax museum’s Delhi location, the exhibit features a life-size replica of Colonel Sanders looking longingly at a Zinger. In a separate chamber, visitors can see an enlarged wax Zinger on a KFC-branded pedestal.
Along with enticing visitors to visit KFC, the wax figures have also inspired countless fans to take photos and spread the KFC brand to their followers.
Japan – Only Chicken Bones
Perhaps the most unusual KFC promotion in Asia originated from KFC in Japan.
“In response to overwhelming demand from everyone,” said KFC Japan’s Twitter feed, the fast-food outlet would now be selling a ‘long-awaited new product” – #onlychickenbones. KFC, the Tweet continued, had ‘extracted the bones of its chickens’ so that customers could use it for their ‘hot pot, ramen and many other things’.
A careful Twitter reader, however, would note that the tweet is dated April 1st, indicating that the product was an April Fool’s joke and never actually for sale.
Inspired by East Asia – I Love You, Colonel Sanders! A Finger Lickin’ Good Dating Simulator
What at first seems like a joke will almost certainly be KFC’s most talked-about campaign in 2019.
KFC, it seems, has made a video game. Released September 24th, the I Love You, Colonel Sanders! (ILYCS) online game simulates the experience of being a promising young chef at the “University of Cooking School”. Apparently, the goal of the simulation is to simultaneously engage in cooking battles, earn a degree at the University – and date a classmate, who is none other than the Colonel Sanders.
The game advertises itself as “The most delicious dating simulator ever created!” and seems to anticipate consumers’ disbelief by repeatedly assuring them that it was genuinely created by KFC.
Though the dating sim is a worldwide campaign, the genre originated in Japan, and the East Asian influences are clear in the game’s art style and animation.