By Kyleen McNicholas
College Advertising. At this point in the semester, most undergraduates have become immune and utterly disinterested in the repetitive and never-ending stream of advertisements constantly thrown in our faces. Thanks to KFC marketing chief John Cywinski, that is no longer the case.
Starting the week of September 20th, 2010, KFC launched its new campaign for their bun-less “Double Down” sandwich. The campaign, which started at Spalding University in downtown Louisville, features female undergraduates who serve as “human-billboards”. Each undergraduate selected is paid to wear branded “Double Down” sweatpants, thus encouraging students to try the newly released sandwich.
The campaign was initially launched because of decreasing sales and a large decrease in brand recognition. The week prior to the campaign launch, a study was released showing more than six in ten Americans (ages 18 to 25 -KFC’s main target market), could not identify Colonel Sanders from the KFC logo.
The mildly controversial campaign has been highly praised by most consumers. With the campaign being the creation of yet another advertising first within the company, chief marketing and food innovation officer John Cywinski achieved his goal of attracting the attention of KFC’s key target market, young men. Despite the few negative reactions received about the campaign being degrading and inappropriate, it has generated attention for both the product and the brand. This eventually could, given time, lead to the completion of its overall goal to increase sales and increase brand recognition within the company’s target market.
Thus far, the marketing strategy has yet to prove its effectiveness. On October 6th, KFC announced that US sales are continuing to drop. The sandwich is said to make its debut in Canada on October 18th, which could alter the effectiveness of the campaign. To date, the campaign has only been highly valuable by generating buzz in the advertising and marketing world.