Product: Fast Food
Title: Secret Menu
Media: Owned and Earned
Date Of Campaign: 18 March 2019 – 31 August 2019
Background: To secure the stability of its customer base and future growth, KFC needed to drive up acquisitions and usage for its own app. There is an established formula used by QSRs to recruit app users: bribe them with a big value deal. Yet we quickly realised the ‘success’ of this strategy was not what it seemed. While acquisition campaigns that feature a ‘carrot’ (e.g. free food) are initially effective, they are also costly to run, and encourage ‘gaming’ behaviour (ie: claiming freebies on the app, then deleting it.) As everyone uses this playbook, it invariably leads to a ‘race to the bottom’. This isn’t just expensive, it’s ineffective. Just 23% of all users keep an app within the first three days after download, meaning most app acquisition campaigns never generate a positive ROI. Our challenge was to get consumers to download the KFC App, without falling into this trap.
Idea: Behavioural psychology dictates that withholding information from people just makes them more obsessed with obtaining it. It’s known as the ‘Streisand Effect’, named after Barbra Streisand who famously attempted to suppress photos of her residence for privacy reasons, but inadvertently drew more public attention to it. So to achieve our objectives, we decided to do something radical. We discovered that KFC staff love ‘hacking’ the menu to create crazy new products. So we hid their never-before-seen creations in a Secret Menu deep within the KFC App. Then we told no one about it. Instead of launching with a big campaign, we waited for people to discover it on their own. We threw conventional app UX principles out the window by making the Secret Menu difficult to navigate – it could only be found if users held down on the regular menu screen for 11 seconds (a cheeky reference to KFC’s famous herbs and spices).
Results: Making the Secret Menu hard to find just made people more obsessed with finding and sharing it. A month after we quietly updated the KFC App, an excited customer finally cracked the code and shared their discovery in a Facebook group. The news spread like wildfire, resulting in mass coverage across some of Australia’s biggest online news outlets. We then regularly updated the Secret Menu without warning, reigniting the conversation and keeping the KFC App on newsfeeds and front pages everywhere. This strategy helped attract new users and re-engage existing users all year round. When someone discovers the secret menu, they’re motivated to share it on social media, bringing new users into the journey. Thus, creating a self-sustaining, evergreen acquisition platform for the KFC App – all for $0 media budget. Ultimately… • We achieved 473 pieces of coverage and 460+ million impressions without any paid media – with more generated organically every time we update the menu. • We increased average daily KFC App downloads during the campaign period by 14%, and on the day the Secret Menu story broke, the daily download rate increased by 111%. • When compared to users who did not engage with the Secret Menu, those who did had: o A 61% retention rate sustained over the campaign period (whereas non-Secret Menu users only showed a retention rate of 44%) o A 77% increase in aggregated lifetime spend - that is, they spent 77% more money than non-Secret Menu users on average.