An ambitious project by KFC China that saw it go deeper into gaming than ever before proved to be effective at driving sales while spending nothing on media.

“Gaming for KFC has been a critical strategy for the last five years,” Yi Liu, a partner at Mindshare China, the brand’s agency in that country, told the recent I-COM Data Creativity Awards.

Beginning with in-game rewards for players, the brand moved on to integrating avatars of the QSR’s restaurants into games based off location services.

Its most recent outing into the world of gaming was far more audacious and saw the brand engaging with the raft of numbers pumped out of the wildly popular online game League of Legends. (For more, read WARC’s report: How KFC China became an e-sports pundit.)

This required assessing the metrics that indicate successful teams and players and then training an algorithm, using historical data from more than 100,000 professional-level matches, to predict likely winners.

When the algorithm reached a sufficient level of prediction accuracy, it was deployed during the League of Legends World Championships, which at its peak was watched simultaneously by 35 million people in China alone.

During the games, real-time predictions were dispensed on the game stream’s chat in the form of a graph tracking the win rates of the participating teams.

The KI Colonel, a game version of the brand’s iconic founder, was also on hand to offer an opinion at critical points and distribute redeemable QR codes to fans so they could order fried chicken during the game.

Across all the matches in which it featured, the KI Colonel garnered 203 million total viewers, and within those, it generated over two million live comments.

He also drove sales, as redeem rates for the QR code were 2,500% above the benchmark.

Sourced from WARC