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Disaster-Related Promotions Never End Well – KFC’s Facebook Fail

by Jonathan Barrick

I sure would like to meet the person who thought that THIS would be a good idea. Evidently, some genius over at KFC in Thailand was struck with the inspiration that most people in the country would be too busy monitoring the news for earthquake and tsunami updates to cook, and therefore this would be a great time for everyone to order a bucket of chicken.

Seriously, they actually posted this on their Facebook wall:

“People should hurry home this evening to monitor the earthquake situation and don’t forget to order the KFC menu, which will be delivered direct to your hands,”

Knowing what I know about people and how they typically react to things like this, there are a couple of things I feel are inherently wrong with this strategy.

1 – History has shown that we tend to frown upon businesses looking to profit from natural disasters.

2 – What makes them think anyone would be taking the time out during a major earthquake alert to see what’s new on the Facebook page dedicated to fried chicken?

Evidently news of Kenneth Cole’s poorly thought out tweet during the Cairo riots last spring never made it to KFC Thailand’s marketing team. Too bad, because if they had followed that story, they would have seen the general public express a massive amount of outrage at the fact that Kenneth Cole would trivialize such an event this way.

After Thailand began voicing its outrage at the post, it was taken down and a public apology was issued, but has done little to assuage the anger generated as a result.

Several words come to mind summarizing KFC’s mistake: Insensitivity, Greed, Irresponsibility, Ignorance

Ultimately, the message for brands here is pretty clear: During times of national crisis or social upheaval, you might want to stay away from business promotions tied directly to such events. They rarely end well.

This article originally written for http://crowdshifter.com