Viral Advertising: Calling KFC'S Bluff

The Internet is abuzz this week with talk of the "KFC Double Down" sandwich. A sandwich that has no bun, rather two pieces of fried chicken with bacon and cheese sandwiched in the middle.

"How could they do this!" are the cries that come from millions who are already more than sickened by peoples lack of self control. "Especially With all the talk of our nations problems with obesity!" another cries. This sandwich had become a flagship for all that is wrong with today's fast food consumer society. That being said... My guess is that KFC could care less if this menu item sits on the menu for 1 week or 1 year. I'm guessing this sandwich was created for the giant explosion of viral exposure that would happen once it actually hits the menu. This viral exposure translates to KFC as "FREE ADVERTISING". It's a classic case of "any exposure is good exposure". Albeit this time it comes at the cost of the thousands of people who decide to consume one or eight of these and then egg on already existing health problem all the way to the ER with a 7 herb and spiced laced path into our overworked medical system.

What makes it different than other non-healthy menu items?

When an employee at a McDonalds created the calorie loaded Big Mac in the 1970's, the intention was not to clog google searches, facebook status updates, and tweets with the term "Mc Donald's Big Mac". The intention as to create a tasty food item that would sell.

I could be 100% wrong... But this is my guess on how the "KFC Double Down" was created:Several people at a marketing agency pondering... "what exactly can we do to create massive viral publicity for the KFC brand". A marketing publicity stunt of some sort... With rumors of this sandwich flowing online by home chefs for years... A light bulb likely went off... "THAT'S IT!". The amount of buzz that would be created from such a sandwich being released to the general public on mass scale would be huge! They wouldn't even need a crazy advertising campaign to support it. It would run itself - saving millions of dollars and giving KFC loads of free exposure.

This is why my gut tells me that KFC could care less if these things sell or not. They know that by reminding people of the KFC brand, they will get bodies in the stores - who either want this item or simply want a taste of the original recipe and some neon mac and cheese. They are getting these bodies in the door with-out shelling millions in advertising because most of the exposure comes from facebook and twitter. They get people talking amongst friends debating if this thing is "Safe to eat" or if "its right for KFC to sell it", which leads to "all this talk of KFC makes me hungry, lets go there for dinner".

Strictly from a marketing standpoint... Checkmate to KFC... Brilliant marketing move. To the detriment of millions of Americans who can not say "NO" to food that is bad for them... they will be one mouthful closer to a trip to the ER.

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