If there’s one restaurant that regularly makes the news for their content marketing, it’s KFC.

KFC’s Weird Content Marketing, Part I: Weird Chicken Stuff

Chicken nail polish, anyone?


by Dave Robson

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If there’s one restaurant that regularly makes the news for their content marketing, it’s KFC. And when we say news, we aren’t just talking about pop culture-centric web offerings like Buzzfeed. BBC, the National Post, and the New York Times regularly take note of KFC’s content. Like what?

KFC has two basic content marketing strategies. One: make weird chicken-related stuff and enjoy lots of media attention. Two: make actual content on inexpensive platforms like YouTube. Of course, they sometimes do both.

Here’s a short list of things KFC has made that are chicken-related: a fried chicken scented candle. KFC scented sunscreen called Extra Crispy. KFC nail polish that was edible and came in two flavours: Original Recipe and Hot & Spicy. And just this past June, KFC launched an online merchandise store with stuff socks, pocket squares, and a $20,000 Zinger replica carved from a meteorite.

By themselves, these things aren’t content. They’re just products. Really strange products.

Here’s the content marketing angle: these things KFC makes are really just way to earn media attention. And they do that very well. The scented candle? Only 25 were ever made, and they were part of a campaign in New Zealand where people suggested other possible KFC merchandise. The fried chicken nail polish was only available in Hong Kong, and it sold out nearly right away. And the KFC online store, even though it was just launched, is sold out of nearly everything.

However, a scant 25 KFC scented candles got attention from the Telegraph, Eater, and USA Today. Chicken nail polish got written up in the National Post, the BBC, and the New York Times. KFC’s merchandise launch got praise from none other than Esquire.

Basically, KFC’s weird chicken stuff strategy looks like this. Step one: imagine a weird chicken thing. Step two: sell or give away a small number of those weird chicken things for a very limited time in a single market. Step three: enjoy worldwide media attention.

There’s a lot of smart strategy at play here. First of all, location doesn’t matter. KFC can sell chicken flavoured nail polish in Hong Kong and rest assured that they’ll get attention from the world over. Second, because they only do small batches of this stuff, no one can really be sure that it is as advertised. Does the chicken nail polish actually taste like KFC? No idea. I don’t know anyone who’s tried it and neither do you. The only word we have is the media buzz, so that’s whom we tend to believe. Third: the weirdness of it all ensures attention.

Next time: KFC’s weird content.