Reputation hacking for KFC franchisees


Most Australians believe KFC makes delicious chicken, but not necessarily high quality chicken. While we know that isn’t true, we needed Australians to give KFC credit for their food quality.


We know Aussies love KFC but research uncovered that if we simply spelt out what KFC stands for - Kentucky Fried Chicken - it immediately lifted food quality perceptions. We also knew there was no greater signifier of restaurant quality than a Michelin Star. We needed to insert Kentucky Fried Chicken into the minds and mouths of Australians and showcase that it was high quality food worthy of international recognition. So we aimed for the stars. Literally.


We needed to get Aussies spelling out ‘Kentucky Fried Chicken’ in order to improve perceptions. Our creative solution? Aim for the stars. Michelin Stars that is. We knew this couldn’t be achieved just via earned coverage, we needed to create the back story first. So working with our partner agency, Ogilvy, we created a carefully crafted content strategy that laid the groundwork. We needed to do something to get people talking. To do this, we needed an Aussie larrikin who could be the hero. Enter Sam Edelman, the franchisee of the Alice Springs KFC - the world’s most remote KFC. We helped Sam on his journey by setting up a Facebook Group in his name, as a covert content hub for media throughout the campaign. We gave him media training and briefed him to reach out to local media outlets in Alice Springs to ignite the conversation. As planned, our first media hit was the local radio station. From there the story spread like wildfire across the nation. And then the globe. It wasn’t long before Sam had taken part in 50+ interviews and was in Paris driving a truck with his face on the side to meet the Director of the Michelin Guide to plead his case - drumstick in hand.


The campaign massively boosted sales with KFC seeing increased sales growth of 14.7%, along with transaction growth of 10.3% which equated to tens of millions of dollars. Other results include: 724 pieces of coverage across TV, radio, print, online; Total reach of 849,417,077; 79% of coverage mentioned ‘Kentucky Fried Chicken’; 99% of coverage was positive; KFC’s YouGov Brand Buzz Score increased by 633%.