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When I sat to write this post, little did I know I would end up writing about Oprah again this week. Most who know me are aware I’m not a huge fan (let’s just say I’m not afraid to express my opinion vocally), but as an expansion to my post on “The Oprah Effect” I thought it would be beneficial to discuss the recent KFC/Oprah PR nightmare.
So, how did KFC’s PR blow-up get them on Oprah twice? They did some good PR afterward…
When Oprah Winfrey announced her partnership with KFC on her May 5 show to promote Kentucky Grilled Chicken through a downloadable coupon on her Web site, KFC wasn’t prepared for “Oprah KFC” to be the fifth-most searched set of terms on Google within minutes of the talk show diva announcing it.
This is where it might have helped KFC to know about “the Oprah effect.”
After approximately 16 million coupons were printed, people flocked to their local KFC for free chicken and were turned away for various reasons…they ran out of chicken, franchises didn’t receive the memo from corporate and were wary to give away chicken they may not be reimbursed for, etc.
Here enters the true test of how strong the PR department is…
Weathering the storm, KFC apologized to its fans and upped the promotion, attaching a free Pepsi to a rain check on unredeemed coupons. Why was this good PR? In addition to all the people that wrote stories about the failed ploy to promote the new grilled chicken, even more began to write stories about the rain check…and to put the cherry on top…the President of KFC ended up on Oprah again!
Let’s hope KFC has learned its lesson even though they lucked out. I’m thinking they are probably aware of “the Oprah effect” now!