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Friday, May 8, 2009

PR nightmare for Oprah and KFC

Oprah & KFC have a PR nightmare on their hands after her "free 2-piece grilled chicken dinner" coupon printing promo two days ago. (Mizu, you're lucky you went when you did!)

We waited in line more than 20 minutes at the drive-thru last evening only to be told upon arriving at the menu board that "Due to a national shortage of chicken, we are unable to honor the coupons at this time." KFC needs to put up some easily visible signage stating that prior to when customers are trapped in the queue with no way out. Bait and switch. After having been stuck that long in line, instead of a free meal, we felt trapped, unable to back out of line or move ahead so we ended up ordering other menu items. (see below for the irony of what was or wasn't available)

A "national shortage of chicken" in 24 hours?!? This was just the day after the show aired!

The coupons were to be redeemable until May 19th with the exception of Mother's Day; however, now they state that they will be unable to honor any of the remaining coupons during that timeframe. What kind of planning went into the promotion? A well-intentioned roll-out for the new grilled chicken at KFC swiftly disintegrated into a national embarassment. Heads will roll...not just chickens' heads either.

Instead, the restaurants are handing out a mail-in request for a raincheck coupon that can be redeemed "at a later date" (no specified date has apparently been determined) customers must complete the raincheck form, mail it to KFC, then wait for their new coupon to be mailed back to them. What a fiasco!

The greater irony was that even though they could not honor the coupon for the "free 2-piece grilled chicken," if you wanted to place an order for a 9-piece bucket of grilled chicken, they were able to provide that. So, if there was a "national shortage" of chicken and they could not honor the free 2-piece grilled chicken coupon, how was it then that they had no problem with filling a $15 order for a 9-piece bucket of grilled chicken?

Go figure...


Chrystal K. said...

Poor KFC. I think their whole marketing plan is backfiring on them.
I have to say, their grilled chicken is better than their fried chicken, but the sad truth is, their grilled chicken is no where near as good as El Pollo Loco's.

Mizu Sugimura said...

Janie - Perhaps when the second half of this extended grilled chicken roll-out promo is over, KFC etc. can captivate their public by announcing
their overall success as attracting attention by going nationwide with a new announcement and catchy slogan - taking a cue from the last Presidential campaign, a little ditty along the lines of "Yes we can!":)

Meanwhile, we may all be able to have a silent moment of gratitude for not being the bright and talented soul(s) - clearly optimists - whose job was to estimate what levels of chicken needed to be on hand to fulfill the demand for this promotion?:0

Mizu Sugimura said...

Oops! My carelessness. Forgive the typo in your name. Missed the all important "Y". I should be able to read by now....

LuckyCharm said...

I wish Oprah wouldn't promote chicken at all: