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KFC takes competition head-on, launches aggressive marketing campaigns

Last month, the brand launched an exclusive range of merchandise. Now, KFC launched a video game to give its consumers one more reason to indulge with the brand. spoke to Moksh Chopra, CMO, KFC India, to know more about the brand’s latest marketing initiatives

In mid-2018, Kentucky Fried Chicken, or ‘KFC’ as it is popularly known, launched a massive campaign in India centred on the mascotisation of the brand’s founder, Late Colonel Harland David Sanders. In India, popular Indian film and theatre actor Denzil Smith was roped in to portray the character of the iconic Col. Sanders in ads. Smith also made an appearance at a KFC restaurant in Connaught Place, New Delhi, decked up as Col. Sanders, where he introduced 'KFC Land' to all the patrons. He called it the land of the ‘tastiest chicken’ and also declared July 6 as ‘Fried Chicken Day’.

“KFC Land - It's Here!” released in 2018

Ever since then, the QSR giant is leaving no stone unturned to impress the consumers. The brand is aggressively taking its competition head-on in every possible way — from opening standalone restaurants to concept eateries. Last month, KFC launched an exclusive range of merchandise — T-shirts, badges, pins, mobile phone covers and stickers. Designed in collaboration with The Souled Store, the merchandise will be available on the KFC App, website and The Souled Store website.  

Now, KFC has launched a new video game to give its consumers one more reason to indulge with the brand. Titled ‘Colonel Sanders: The Epic Escape Through Indulgence’, the game allows consumers to ‘Take a Break’ from what they are doing and help Col. Sanders escape the drudgery of business ownership and reach the 'Nirvana of Indulgence'.   

The video game:


Moksh Chopra spoke to Moksh Chopra, Chief Marketing Officer, KFC India, to know more about the brand’s latest marketing initiatives, and the strategy behind going that extra mile to impress the consumers. 

“Our brand strategy has two parts — what we do and how we say it. Nobody makes chicken like we do, and that remains at the core of all our brand proposition. Our brand DNA is built on the need to be unique and innovative in ways to stay relevant in the consumer’s life. You see that ethos come to life in ‘craveable’ food innovations such as the ‘Double Down Burger’, limited time innovations like our recent ‘Kentucky Flying Object Drone’ offered on Delivery, or becoming part of consumer moments like the ‘Finger Inkin’ good campaign to help the first time voter,” says Chopra.       

“We also ensure the brand is increasingly easy to access through new restaurants, new channels like ‘Delivery’ as well as making it affordable through our Rs 99 range and the ‘Variety Buckets’. But when we communicate the above, we do it using our most distinctive assets like the Colonel, the Bucket, and the iconic tagline ‘Finger Inkin’ good, with an easy, fun tone of voice — which helps the brand stand out,” he adds.

However, brands such Café Coffee Day, Starbucks, Hard Rock Cafe, etc., have launched their merchandise in the past. ‘Is that the reason KFC wants to tread the tried and tested path?’ we asked.

“We rarely do things just because it’s the category norm. The conviction came from the love consumers have for KFC, and this gives our consumers an opportunity to flaunt their chicken love, while having some fun,” Chopra argues.

With over 60 years of experience of serving the signature chicken to billions of customers, across 125 countries, KFC has come a long way. In the Indian subcontinent, the quarter ending June 2019 marked the 11th consecutive quarter of positive sales growth for KFC. Further, the brand strives to continue the growth momentum by building on its core business through innovations in the category, and expanding access through offline and online mediums. 

“Today’s consumer has evolved. The relationship is not just with the product, but more with the brand. They want to associate and engage with the brand in new and exciting ways. We draw insights from our continued engagement with our consumers, mostly through our social media channels. Our latest merchandise is an extension to bond more with chicken lovers and KFC fans,” says Chopra. 

Banking upon being the ‘Legacy Brand’

KFC’s prime and only ambassador is the brand’s founder Col. Sanders. All the brand campaigns have been centred around him and the fried chicken to communicate the story/messaging effectively. 

The brand’s core consumers are largely millennials who look out for an innovative eating experience. Adding KFC merchandise as part of the portfolio, takes the brand closer to them. The merchandise range will keep widening over the next few months, and there will be refreshed communication around it.  

Interestingly, while the merchandise has really cool designs, the brand isn’t keen to have it over-branded. “We view it more as a chance to make our consumers feel good and less as a brand advertisement opportunity,” says Chopra.

The brand usually works on integrated campaigns with a fair mix allocated to traditional media — TV, print, OOH and occasionally radio. “While television has always been an important medium, the focus has shifted towards digital in the last couple of years, since millennials (our core TG) spend a lot of time online today,” concludes Chopra.

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