SYDNEY: KFC leaned into its ‘pride in fried’ mantra to turn around the brand and record 25 quarters of same-store sales growth, according to a senior executive of the company in Australia.

“We had an intervention. We went soul-searching,” Annabel Fribence, Group Marketing Director of KFC in Australia, told the recent Mumbrella Retail Marketing Summit.

“We went back to the history books and looked at why on earth the Colonel even started. What was it that people who did come actually came for?

“And through this soul searching, the results are very unsurprising. We are good at deep-fried chicken,” she said. (For more, read WARC’s report: ‘Pride In Fried’: KFC Australia’s turn-around story.)

KFC tapped Daniel Kahneman's theory of irrational decision making – that emotion drives action – and started to produce ads that made people feel instead of simply talking about the product.

With that in mind, the brand created an ad that fueled desire and made people drool – a man refusing to let his partner have a bite of his KFC burger. The result was a 200% sales increase, compared to six months earlier.

The company also moved away from 30-second TV commercials, to produce six-second and 15-second spots. Five years ago, 30-second commercials made up 90% of KFC Australia’s ad buy – now that figure is less than 10%.

According to Fibrence, the change has made no difference to sales for the brand and saved considerable amounts of money. (Read more here on why 15-second ads can be as effective as 30-second ones: An examination of ad length: 15 vs. 30 secs.)

“As marketers, we need to let go of this idea that we can only connect, that we can only build emotional connections with our customers through long-format storytelling,” Fibrence said. “We don’t brief it as a cutdown. We don’t see the 30 first. We say, tell us the story in six seconds.

“I can’t say this has been an easy journey. It has been a matter of holding hands with our creative agency to retrain ourselves on how we tell product-centric stories that elicit an emotion in six seconds,” she added.

Sourced from WARC