Mother has created a range of brilliant campaigns since taking over KFC’s ad account in 2017 – from an illustrated A to Z that pays homage to the brand’s various imitators to its ‘FCK’ ad, which provided a masterclass in how to deliver an apology with wit and style.
Online, the brand has demonstrated the same sense of humour and combined creative thinking with a deep understanding of the kind of content that resonates on different platforms. KFChill is a prime example of this: in September last year, the brand launched a new online platform to coincide with Mindfulness Day, which offered a surprising alternative to traditional meditation apps. Aware of the growing popularity of mindfulness and pink noise (high and low frequency sounds which are believed to aid relaxation and even help you get a better night’s sleep), Mother created video and audio content featuring the sounds of frying chicken, simmering gravy and sizzling bacon, allowing fans of KFC to chill out to a soundtrack of the brand’s famous foods being prepared.
The platform has proved popular – so much so that Mother claims people have been meditating and practicing yoga to the sound of crisping poultry. And in January this year, the agency launched a follow-up campaign to promote the KFC Gravy Mega Box, a combo that includes three kinds of fried chicken, fries and a pot of Colonel Sanders’ gravy.
Mother created a series of 15-second Stories for Facebook and Instagram which featured mouth-watering close ups of each of these ingredients, along with the sounds of them cooking. Users could swipe up to find information about the product and immerse themselves in the world of KFChill with longform audio and meditation exercises.
As January drew to a close, Mother took the campaign one step further with the launch of a gravy-scented candle. The product was revealed on Blue Monday, with KFC serving up a spoof lifestyle video to targeted users on Facebook and Instagram. Consumers could click on the ads to enter their details and be in with a chance of winning one of 230 candles. Over 360,000 people entered the competition and the gravy candle made headlines in mainstream media – appearing in publications from LADbible to Highsnobiety and even making an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.
As Mother ECD Hermeti Balarin explains to CR, the candle was one of several ideas generated after Mother hit on the concept of creating KFC-themed pink noise. “Someone realised that the noise of frying chicken was pink noise … and that bit of information peaked everyone’s interest. We started thinking ‘what can we do with this?’ and we had loads of ideas around the fact that we could position the noises of preparing food against this rather ludicrous background of mindfulness, seeing that [mindfulness] is so on trend,” he explains. “We’ve worked with KFC for two years and we know that gravy is very much an obsession [for a lot of KFC fans] – of the things people love about KFC, gravy gets a disproportionately huge amount of love.”
The idea came to life when KFC asked Mother to come up with a campaign to promote its Gravy Mega Box at the beginning of this year. Mother created a month-long campaign using Facebook and Instagram Stories, which would drive people to the existing KFChill platform. “Stories was our first point of call because we know that’s the primary channel in which people predominantly have their sound turned on,” explains Vairi MacLennan, Digital Strategy Director at Mother. “With in-Feed assets, we tend to avoid anything that’s too reliant on sound … and from our work with KFC, we’ve seen that Stories has been a really successful format for the brand.”
Mother decided to focus on a different element of the Gravy Mega Box – from chicken to gravy and chips – throughout each week in January. “Each week across the month, we had a new ad asset running across Facebook and Instagram Stories, which brought to life one of those sounds,” says MacLennan. The launch of the candle competition allowed the brand to tap into conversations around Blue Monday: “That’s one of those moments that [as a brand] you want to play into, so we wanted to think of a way that we could authentically link that to the world of KFChill and do something that would build on those Stories,” she adds.
The candle was promoted via in-Feed ads rather than Stories, with Mother creating a 10-second video that showed the item slowly turning to reveal its unusual scent. MacLennan puts the video’s success down to the fact it delivered an unexpected twist – gently poking fun at more serious mindfulness videos of flickering candles or blue skies – and a quick user experience, with one click taking users straight to the competition page.
Putting a KFC-themed spin on mindfulness allowed Mother to reach a broader demographic beyond the brand’s core audience – and introduce fans of the brand to the concept of pink noise in a playful way. “We have a core set of topics that we know are resonant with KFC’s audience – so things like music, gaming and obviously food – and then there’s lots of halo topics that come off the back of that and have crossover with different audiences…. Mindfulness was really interesting, because it reaches such a big cross section of people,” explains MacLennan.
Working with a global consumer brand like KFC requires an ‘always on’ approach to social platforms – providing audiences with fresh content that surprises and delights in order to remain front of mind. MacLennan says Mother is constantly monitoring current and emerging trends in order to identify new opportunities for the brand: “We have a team here who do that, and we try and bring those thoughts into our creative briefing sessions. Obviously we’ll only do that if we can do it in a way that’s relevant to the brand – we’re super conscious of that, and we don’t want to be seen as piggybacking either. It’s about doing it at the right time,” she says.
“[KFC] is part of people’s lives and culture in general – and it has a confidence and swagger that allows it to jump into topics that are being hotly discussed,” adds Balarin. “Because it doesn’t take itself too seriously, it manages to jump into those discussions in a fresh and unexpected way … we’re very conscious of entertaining and surprising people and letting them join in with the fun as well.”
This ‘always on’ approach also provides the brand with some valuable insights to draw on when devising new campaigns: “When we go into any creative briefing, there’s a special blend of things we do: we identify what the key points are that we need to hit, what the message is that we want to get across but also, we take those learnings from previous campaigns,” explains MacLennan.
“Test and learn is a bit of a buzzword, but we’re always keen to do that and bring our learnings back [to the creative team],” she adds. “Listening is part of that – so we’re bringing that along with some thought starters for the creative team, in terms of what topics have started to come up on social which are relevant to the KFC audience – and then there’s platform best practice as well. We do a lot of work with Facebook and Instagram and we’re conscious of [adhering to] best practice and what we know works in terms of keeping things short, our use of sound and making sure we’re stopping people mid-scroll. As much as that’s something you hear all the time, it’s something we always play to and I think the work is testament to that working in practice.”
While Mother might start out with a particular format in mind – such as Stories – MacLennan says the agency adopts a flexible approach in its campaigns for KFC, refining media plans as ideas develop.
This Mindfulness Day, discover a new way to relax at KFChill…www.kfchill.co.uk
Gepostet von KFC am Dienstag, 11. September 2018
“When we’re briefing our brand strategists and creatives, we really try and brief them to come up with big ideas that we feel will work on platforms and have a bit of stretch – sometimes we’ll flex the media plan a little bit, and we’ll work very closely with KFC and its media agency if we feel there’s an idea which is a great idea but maybe doesn’t quite work with the initial lay down we’ve been given, so there’s a lot of back and forth in that process to make sure that everything we create, the media is as creative as [the concept],” she says.
As Balarin points out, this flexibility is important – otherwise, brands risk putting form over content, and this can come at the expense of creativity: “We don’t just want to start by ticking the boxes first [deciding on specific outputs or formats before developing an idea], because if you do that, you’re going to miss the most important ingredient, which is the surprise,” he explains.
KFChill is an ongoing project, and Balarin says Mother plans to create more relaxing content for KFC’s audience. “In advertising, I think there’s a tendency to abandon things very quickly and go ‘what’s new? What’s next?’ but this is something we’re really proud of – the success that it has and how it was deployed – so I suspect that whatever comes our way in the future, the platform will stretch to that,” he says.
“If you’re trying to appear on people’s feeds, I think – especially for this brand – it’s important to put a smile on their faces, to have a little smile in the mind. In this case it’s two incongruent things coming together but somehow neatly aligning. We took something that was quite mad but potentially broadened its appeal by making it less pompous. It brings mindfulness to our audience in a light-hearted but very effective way.”
By combining audience insights with ingenuity – and playing to the strengths of different ad formats – Mother was able to create a campaign that extended beyond the platforms it was created for. Balarin says this is something Mother aims to do with each new campaign – whether it’s for print (the FCK ad quickly went viral on social media) or KFChill.
“Whatever you do, it should transcend the medium in which the idea was intended to operate,” he says. “A lot of the work we do [with KFC] is trying to catch things as they are blowing up, and if you do that with the right tone and the right execution then no matter where they start, they’ll find a way into mainstream media. I think the gravy candle is another case of that: the candle was a social media competition that got picked up in newspapers and on TV and I think that is testament to being bold and brave and doing what you think is right.”
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