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  • Deepanshu

When KFC FCKed Up.

In February 2018, KFC (UK and Ireland) was faced with a #chickencrisis. A problem with its new logistics partner DHL meant that KFC was running out of crucial ingredients, mainly Chicken. The situation got so bad that as many as 900 outlets were shut down.

This crisis saw a horde of people taking over social media to complain about the issue. For example, 21st February 2018 saw as many as 53,000 mentions of KFC running out of Chicken, alongside hashtags such as #kfccrisis and #chickencrisis.

KFC’s competitors did not hesitate or wait to hit KFC where it hurt (just like good competitors always do).

After all fuck-ups, comes an apology. Here is where KFC came out with a stroke of brilliance. KFC issued the following apology in The Sun and Metro on 23rd February, targeting a combined viewership of nearly 6 million:


“A chicken restaurant without any chicken. It’s not ideal. Huge apologies to our customers, especially those who travelled out of their way to find we were closed. And endless thanks to our KFC team members and our franchise partners for working tirelessly to improve the situation. It’s been a hell of a week, but we’re making progress, and every day more and more fresh chicken is being delivered to our restaurants. Thank you for bearing with us.”

KFC realized that the public is not interested in knowing about the details of the problem. The company knew that people are no strangers to empty corporate apologies. All they care about is an apology and an actionable course of remedy.

Guided by honestly, humility, and, most importantly, humor, KFC owned up to the mistake in a conversational language. They did not try to overly explain to the customers about the logistical issues or throw DHL under the bus.

The Chicken started crossing the road.

The ad ended by directing users to a dedicated microsite, enabling customers to check the location of the nearest operational outlet.


What started as damage limitation was soon regarded as one of the greatest examples of corporate crisis management. The campaign went on to win various awards and revolutionized how we today look at corporate apologies.

 

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