"Michelin Impossible"

Client: KFC
Product: Fast Food
Title: Michelin Impossible
Media: Key Media Channel - Social
Country: Australia
Date Of Campaign: 17th June 2019 – 12th July 2019

Background: When KFC had previously tried to tell people their food was good quality, no one believed it. So instead of telling them again, we had to look a new way to get Australians to reconsider the quality of KFC’s food. We also discovered independent GALKAL research had revealed that just saying “Kentucky Fried Chicken” instead of “KFC” sent quality perceptions through the roof. So the campaign’s bold strategy was to ditch traditional advertising, and instead run a grassroots PR strategy with global reach. Because we thought it might actually be possible associate Kentucky Fried Chicken (not KFC) with an independent symbol of food quality – the Michelin Guide – leveraging its credibility and influence to get Kentucky Fried Chicken the quality kudos it deserved. The campaign objectives were: 1. REACH as many Australians as possible: Achieve 51 pieces of local media coverage with 21 million+ impressions. 2. CHANGE PERCEPTIONS about KFC’s food quality: Achieve a score of 50% of respondents agreeing with the following statements, post the campaign: • “it improved my perceptions of the quality of KFC’s food” • “it makes me feel better about eating KFC” • “it makes me crave the food more” 3. INCREASE SALES during the campaign period: The category was growing at 3.7%, and we wanted to outstrip it.

Idea: There’s no higher accolade of quality in the food world than getting a Michelin Star. There’s no simpler criteria either: “excellent cooking worth a special journey”. So we set out to see if we could pull off an incredible PR stunt: give KFC's most remote store owner an impossible mission to get Kentucky Fried Chicken the ultimate symbol of food quality, a Michelin Star. Which was kinda plausible since his customers would regularly travel 1,000s of Kilometres to eat in his restaurant. Although no one was going to complain if KFC actually got a star, it wasn’t the goal of the idea. KFC wanted to get credit for making quality fried chicken - by associating with the well-known culinary prestige and status of the Michelin Guide. So we devised a carefully crafted narrative coupled with meticulously planned comms, earned media strategies, and back-up plans. All to ensure our mission would be accepted and embraced by the Australian public. Authenticity was crucial. So even though the initial content was scripted and shot weeks before launch, the mission played out in real-time via a Facebook Group that appeared set-up by our KFC store owner, Sam. Who we didn’t just chance upon but cast from over 30,000 staff and store owners. This unique approach allowed us to transform a Facebook Group into an immensely watchable grassroots content hub ready-made to be picked up by media. To produce this content we prepared dozens of potential narratives to cover every eventuality of Sam’s story, along with contingency plans, including: what would happen if Sam knocked on the doors of Michelin HQ in Paris, uninvited? Everything was designed for a single purpose: the more we got the world talking about Kentucky Fried Chicken, the more we’d increase perceptions of quality. After a global swell of support for Sam we achieved exactly that. And we scored a highly unlikely meeting with the International Director of Michelin Guide. This sounds too good to be true. But we'd actually planned for this (and many other possibilities) and had a crew ready to capture the moment in Paris.

Results: This audacious PR mission to win a Michelin Star and get the world saying Kentucky Fried Chicken embroiled millions of people in the debate. Leading to massive global coverage, improved perceptions of KFC’s quality, 7.6% sales growth, and an ROI of 16:1. REACHED as many Australians as possible: The campaign generated: • 564 pieces of media coverage (target: 51) • 662,545,320 impressions (target: 21,255,000) The global audience increased our results to 724 pieces of media, with a reach of 850 million impressions. CHANGED PERCEPTIONS about KFC’s food quality: Post-campaign research showed increased positive perceptions about our food quality above our KPI of 50%: • 65% agreed “it improved my perceptions of the quality of KFC’s food • 59% agreed “it makes me feel better about eating KFC” • 68% agreed “it makes me crave the food more” INCREASED SALES during the campaign period: Most importantly, we achieved fantastic business results: • sales growth of 7.6% (category growth was 3.7%)

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