The IPL offer attracted 30% of new customers to the KFC application


NEW DELHI : The coronavirus pandemic has pushed millions of Indians indoors, forcing fast-food chains to create new playbooks for marketing and meeting consumer demand. In an interview, Indian marketing director of US fast food chain KFC, Moksh Chopra, spoke about online activations aimed at reaching more consumers and the brand’s engagement with the Indian Premier League (IPL). Edited excerpts:

Has the pandemic prompted KFC to review its advertising and marketing strategy?

The covid-19 situation did not come with a playbook; everyone had to show great agility to adapt to the situation. As we embarked on a deliberate journey to improve the customer experience through digital, social media and digital channels have become a more important part of our media strategy. Over the past two years, we have increased our focus on our digital access points such as the KFC app, website and presence on aggregators. So while our products have always been ‘finger-licking good’, the means of accessing them have become even more ‘finger-licking good’. For example, in digital, we promote take-out in restaurants by using the app to offer contactless service. To make the experience even better, we have offered a 7-minute service promise with Express Pick-up. To meet the needs of our home consumers, we have launched products such as Stay-at-Home Delivery Buckets, being the perfect partner for working from home or working from home. Through social media, we reinforced our 5X security promise and established a strong connection with our consumers, in true KFC style.

What does your brand represent in a market like India with diverse food preferences?

Our strategy is to deepen the relevance of KFC, while maintaining the distinctiveness that KFC is known for. Our communication draws on local insights and nuances to reinforce the relevance of the occasion. India-first innovations like the Leg Piece Bucket, Rice Bowlz, Zinger Tandoori and KFC for your car or bike service are helping to deepen consumers’ connection with KFC. Although we rely on trendy concepts, we use flavors that are acceptable and familiar to our Indian consumers and their palates, without losing the distinctive character of KFC.

We have also collaborated with celebrities and influencers based on their popularity and suitability for the specific product proposition. You will see us working with mainstream and iconic celebrities, who enjoy high popularity, but at the same time also with new-age influencers and content creators who have niche audiences. For example, last year for the new line of Value Burgers, we partnered with the legendary Anil Kapoor, who is loved by everyone, at all ages. Simultaneously, to ensure this burger reaches every chicken lover across the country, we’ve teamed up with Prakash Raj, a star loved by everyone in South India. For a campaign like Express Pick-up, we partnered with athlete PT Usha.

How important is a property like IPL to driving engagement?

We all know how passionate Indians are about all things cricket, and the energy with which we engage in the game is unmatched. IPL continues to be one of the most popular and entertaining tournaments, attracting millions of viewers, making it a relevant marketing space for most brands. KFC, as we know, is the perfect match-watching partner for all fans, and we wanted to celebrate the different types of fans who enjoy watching their favorite IPL matches with a bucket of KFC chicken in hand. Therefore, we launched the “Cricket hai, let’s KFC” campaign, which aptly illustrated a funny joke between a grandmother and a grandson during a cricket match. This year, we took our partnership a notch higher. Consumers had to shout “Howzzat” on the KFC app; they could then enjoy discounts as loudly as they cheered. The novelty of the offer also appealed to our consumers, and we saw more than 30% new acquisitions on the app during the duration of the offer.

Has ad spending returned to pre-pandemic levels?

The share of spend is based on the nature of the initiative and consumer media consumption information. Digital and social media have always been a key and rapidly growing part of our media strategy and their contribution has only grown. Our goal with digital and social media is to use it in three different ways: to reach, create two-way engagement, and order KFC digitally on the KFC app. Our advertising expenses are allocated accordingly.

What new campaigns are planned for the year?

Right now, we’re celebrating our growth milestone of over 600 restaurants with the Bucket Canvas campaign, in which we’ve brought together 50 budding artists from across the country. It is a unique representation of our presence in India; these local artists have made the iconic KFC bucket their canvas which they have used to showcase their talent and interpretation of each of the more than 150 cities in which we operate.

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