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KFC’s ‘FCK’ Apology Ruffles Feathers for all the Right Reasons

13th March 2018

A chicken shop that runs out of chicken – PR disaster, customer service nightmare and frankly, just a bit embarrassing.

However, when KFC were recently caught short due to a logistical meltdown with not a bbq wing or a popcorn nugget in sight, the global brand didn’t try to cover up the cock-up or evade the backlash. Their very clever PR team did what we always advise our clients to do when a mistake is made that really is their fault – they ‘fessed up and apologised.

The ‘FCK’ advert, which appeared with a straight-talking ‘sorry’ message in mainstream tabloid press straight after the chicken-less debacle, was one of the best examples of reactive PR we’ve seen in a long while. KFC used the simplest and most powerful image – an empty chicken bucket with the scrambled brand name, to bring a wry smile to the faces of even the most cynical of consumers.

In a media space which is noisier and more fast-paced than ever before, the most impactful and effective way to deal with a brand-perception crisis is to bring your business’s personality to the fore. KFC combined the three golden ingredients of damage limitation – humility, apology and humour – immediately, which is why the chicken shop’s chicken shortage rapidly became old news.

At Eden, we’re experts in crisis communications. Our team is made up of an eclectic mix of ex-journalists, branding specialists and public relations professionals with more than 100 years of experience between us.

We know how to diffuse a PR nightmare and minimise the damage caused to your brand when things go wrong, and like KFC’s quick-thinking PR team we’re not afraid of using bold, tongue in cheek messaging to turn a crisis on its head. Hats off to the Colonel’s comms team – an excellent example of how an old-fashioned apology (albeit ballsy) still works wonders, no matter how severe the slip up.

(Image credit: The Drum)


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