Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) Promo, Case study SHORT AND TWEET by Weber Shandwick New York

SHORT AND TWEET

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Industry Fast food
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Market United States
Agency Weber Shandwick New York
Released September 2012

Credits & Description

Category: Retail and E-commerce, including Restaurants
Advertiser: KFC
Product/Service: COLONEL'S SCHOLARS PROGRAM
Director, KFC Public Relations: Laurie Schalow (KFC)
Manager, KFC Public Relations: Rick Maynard (KFC)
Senior Vice President: Mike Roach (Weber Shandwick)
Vice President: Ryan Eichler (Weber Shandwick)
Group Manager: Russell Dyer (Weber Shandwick)
Media placement: Press Release - Twitter Scholarship Annoucement - Inc. USA Today, Associated Press, Chicago Tribune, CNN, MSNBC, The Weather Chann - 17 November 2010
Media placement: Social Media - Twitter, Facebook - 17 November 2010
Media placement: Press Release - Winner Annoucement - Inc. Associated Press, CNN, San Jose Mercury News, Star Tribune, Sacramento Bee, - 1 December 2010
Summary of the Campaign
Every year, 2.5 million scholarships award more than $19 billion to U.S. college students. In late 2010, KFC was challenged to generate news around its comparatively small Colonel’s Scholars Program, which awards 75 in-state scholarships to high school seniors each year. But with one $20,000 scholarship tailor made for today’s students, KFC revolutionized the college scholarship game forever by cooking up a web 2.0 spin for the tired, traditional college scholarship application process. No 2,000 word, double-spaced application was necessary, as students literally had 140 characters (including the hashtag #KFCScholar) to convince KFC executives why they deserved a finger clickin’ good $20,000 scholarship. The objective was to make national news and encourage applications for the five year-old Colonel’s Scholars program, one of many corporate scholarship opportunities offered to students across the country. The Colonel’s Scholars scholarship generated more than 1,400 media placements and 61+ million traditional media impressions, more than nine million social media impressions and 2,800 applicants tweeted for their chance at $20,000. As a result, the KFC Twitter handle saw a 20% jump in followers in just a two-week span. That 14-day rise represented KFC’s largest follower growth spurt in the brand’s three years on Twitter.
The Situation
Every year, 2.5 million scholarships award more than $19 billion to U.S. college students.
So when KFC was challenged to spotlight the brand’s 75-scholarship Colonel’s Scholars program, they knew they had to get outside the proverbial box (or in this case the bucket) and cook up something to breakthrough. The standard scholarship process, complete with reams of paperwork, the proverbial “why me?”essays and the chasing of stuffy letters of recommendation, literally takes days to complete. But with one $20,000 scholarship tailor made for today’s students, KFC revolutionized that process forever.
The Goal
The goal was to make national news and encourage applications for the five year-old Colonel’s Scholars program, one of many corporate scholarship opportunities.
By fall 2010, social media sites had become a mainstream space for marketers to reach their target audiences. However, a deep dive into current scholarship programs revealed that the Twittersphere had not yet been tapped by a major brand as a scholarship application platform. Knowing teens to be heavy social media users, it made sense to reach them online where they already spent time.
The Strategy
From this insight, KFC cooked up a web 2.0 spin for the tired application process. No 2,000 word, double-spaced application necessary, students would literally have 140 characters (including the hashtag #KFCScholar) to convince KFC executives why they deserved a finger clickin’ good $20,000 scholarship.
Research revealed our ability to strategically position this Twitter scholarship offer as the shortest-ever college scholarship application, for the largest amount of money.
In addition, KFC strategically announced the scholarship in mid-November to build buzz leading up to the opening of the regular application process on December 1.
Ultimately, the winner was announced on the day the rest of the 74 scholarships went up for grabs.
Execution
KFC used nothing more than a press release and the brand’s social media channels to announce the tweet-to-win scholarship offer on November 17, 2010. Fuelled by the spark of a USA Today exclusive, buzz surrounding KFC’s short and tweet scholarship application ignited immediately.
When the winner, Amanda Russell, was announced two weeks later, media had not forgotten the story. In fact, the AP requested the second round of news as an exclusive giving the campaign not one, but two national exclusives. Strategically, KFC made their winner announcement on December 1 which was the same day that the traditional Colonel's Scholars application process opened for the remaining 74 scholarships.
Documented Results
Traditional Media: Launching via a USA Today exclusive, the offer generated more than 1,300 media placements and 61+ million media impressions, including:
- Two AP Wire stories
- National broadcast coverage on CNN Headline News, MSNBC, The Weather Channel and NBC
- 400+ local TV mentions
- Quality print placements in more than 40 major papers
Social Media: The program had the online world of Twitter, generating more than nine million social media impressions as a result of Tweets during the brief entry period. In all, more than 2,800 applicants tweeted for their chance at $20,000. As a result, the KFC Twitter handle saw a 20% jump in followers in just a two-week span. That 14-day rise represented KFC’s largest follower growth spurt in the brand’s three years on Twitter.
Application Spike: More than 2,000 applicants applied on the first day of the call for the remaining 74 scholarships, the most ever!