Surprise and fear are not traditional elements in advertising, yet KFC’s recent ad campaign – promoting their new boneless chicken menu item – features people overwhelmed by fear and surprise when they eat Kentucky Fried Chicken, but they can’t find the bones afterward. KFC has been promoting #Iatethebones on Twitter to accompany the television commercial.
It is risky to build an advertising and social campaign around a phrase like “I think I ate the bones.” It could be catchy and funny, or it could be met with innuendo or disgust. How did consumers respond to this daring ad campaign on social media?
Using our social media analytics platform ForSight, we looked at over 11,000 relevant posts about #Iatethebones and analyzed how users on Facebook and Twitter are reacting to the commercials and hashtag.
When looking at conversation around the KFC brand as a whole, ForSight found approximately 700,000 relevant posts from April 14 – June 2; 11,431 of these posts were about the “I ate the bones” campaign. Discussion is highest on April 20-21, which marked the beginning of the NBA playoffs, a tournament during which the commercials have been playing persistently throughout.
When the ads first premiered, users expressed conflicting opinions, as the majority either found the commercials to be funny or to have objectionable racial undertones. Positive sentiment, however, quickly began to increase and by the end of April more than half of users stated that the ads were comical and fun.
However, the fun eventually turned to irritation. Over the course of a month, positive opinion gradually diminishes and negative opinions prevail. On April 14, only 5% of the conversation focused on an overall disapproval of the ad, while on June 1 64% of users stated that the continuous playing and flawed logic behind the ads annoyed them.
Overall, only 3% of the total conversation about the ad campaign includes expressions of an increased desire to eat at KFC. Though the campaign was initially met with favorable responses, consumers felt the ads were over-played. Perhaps more damagingly, the ad campaign failed to elicit expressions on social media indicating that the ads encouraged consumers to visit the fast-food chain and to order the new menu item.
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