How do you make people forget (or at least ignore) the fact that they’re eating “chicken” pumped full of antibiotics and growth hormones? Why, you encourage them to enter a poetry contest, of course!
Late in 2012, Chinese media reported that the chickens provided to KFC by a few of its suppliers were raised to maturity in only 45 days thanks to the use of said substances. Disgusted consumers began turning away from the restaurants in droves, but instead of immediately issuing an apology, parent company Yum Brands simply stated that it was cooperating with investigators and that all of its products were safe.
Customers were apparently unconvinced, as KFC China‘s sales slid a whopping 41 percent in January, prompting the company to issue an official apology and take further action. China is the source of about half of Yum Brands’ revenue, and so a plan was hatched to get its reputation back on track in this all-important market.
The resulting PR/marketing campaign, which boasts the laughably epic name “Operation Thunder” (is Thor involved?) began in recent weeks with a mini-site detailing the steps the company will take to ensure the safety of its chicken and promising to keep customers informed about potential safety issues. But it’s the social media aspect of the campaign that really seems to have reached consumers.