About a decade ago, I used to write a newspaper column called "The Short List." In my fifth one, about how to be truly effective in public protests, I mused:
Cut to Louisville, Kentucky last week, and see that I wasn't crazy back then...and certainly am not now. Check out the picture below, and the following excerpts from an article in Advertising Age:
"In an unusual
cause-marketing push, KFC is tackling the pothole problem in Louisville, Ky. in
exchange for stamping the fresh pavement with "Re-freshed by KFC," a
chalky stencil likely to fade away in the next downpour.
"'This program is a perfect example of that rare and optimal occurrence when a company can creatively market itself and help local governments and everyday Americans across the country,' said Javier Benito, exec VP-marketing and food innovation at KFC.
"The KFC program appears to be part of a growing body of consumer-service marketing that connects in a meaningful way. This past holiday season, Charmin provided a public restroom in Times Square for the third year running. Samsung has installed electrical charging stations in many major airports to help travelers stay connected while in limbo."
This is simple, cost-effective but insanely effective Pow! The blogosphere has exploded with chatter about this inspired tactic (here's just one example from Word-of-Mouth Marketing kingpin andy Sernovitz), bringing KFC a tidal wave of positive buzz...much needed after being tarred and feathered in so many ways over the past few years.
What does this have to do with selling chicken? Directly, very little, but indirectly, the goodwill generated by this Surprise may fill coffers KFC faster than KFC fills holes.
Now, if I could only find a corporation willing to clean my eavestroughs...