So last week on her show, Oprah announced a coupon for a free grilled chicken meal at KFC. Not a discount, an entire free meal. Not only that, but you could download and print up to FIVE of these things.
What resulted was lines around the block at KFC stores, and in some cases protests and near-riots, complete with racial overtones. Way to go, Oprah.
Then a couple nights ago, I started seeing KFC commercials running featuring KFC’s president, Roger Eaton (video below). Basically he says they’ve been overwhelmed by the response and that “everyone wants to get the great taste of our new product.”. Then he goes on to say that they’re not going to be honoring the coupon. But to make it up to everyone, if you want to drag your ass back to a KFC, they’ll give you a rain check for something at a later time. It’s not totally clear yet whether that will be a free meal, a discount, or a spit in the face. Oh, and if that’s not enough, they’ll throw in a free Pepsi for your troubles.
What’s interesting about this is the guy’s attitude. He’s acting as if KFC’s new grilled chicken is the best thing ever and everyone is just excited about trying it. Wrong. You offered FREE FOOD in a down economy with record unemployment. The same thing would’ve happened if you’d been offering your same tired old classic chicken you’ve been serving for the last fifty years.
And who was the genius who thought announcing this offer to millions of people on the Oprah show and letting them download five copies would NOT have posed a potential logistical problem? Hopefully, KFC will handle the rain check fulfillment competently. On one hand, I feel like people are looking a gift horse in the mouth. But on the other, if you’re going to be stupid enough to offer something you can’t deliver, at least do a good job making up for it.
Oh, and anyone think it’s weird that “Kentucky” Fried Chicken is run by a South African? Just weird hearing that accent saying “You Americans sure do love your chicken.”