Colonel Ritson: KFC’s marketers turned a chicken crisis into a brand triumph

The KFC chicken crisis caused by DHL’s delivery failures could have been disastrous, but a rapid strategic response has ensured the brand will benefit long-term from increased awareness and a boost in consumer demand.

KFC Chicken Crisis

What’s in three little letters? Well the short answer is that they may spell out the best bit of marketing of 2018.

In November 2017, when logistics company DHL won the KFC account, it promised to “rewrite the rule book” and “set a new benchmark” for delivering chicken. Having finally taken over the account earlier this month it appears both objectives have been achieved, but perhaps not in the manner KFC or its new partner might have hoped.

It quickly became apparent that DHL was catastrophically ill-prepared to serve its new client. Chicken from KFC’s suppliers began to pile up on the side of the road and, with literally nothing to cook or sell, most of the chain’s 870 British outlets were forced to close their doors.

Cue a series of troubling street-level interviews in which people who clearly did not need any more fried chicken complained bitterly about being unable to get their buckets of KFC. Many were so bereft they resorted to calling 999 to fix the ’emergency’ and several police forces took to social media to demand that residents stop calling them about the situation.

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