Make Marketing History

The views of a marketing deviant.

Monday, March 05, 2018

Crisis Marketing Isn't Crisis Management.


Everybody (well everybody in the marketing world) got very excited by KFC's apology for running out of chicken at 900 of their stores last month.

Even Mark Ritson wrote about "KFC marketers turning a chicken crisis into a brand triumph". Whatever that is.

I disagree. The one thing that made it stand out was that it employed KFC's brand tone rather than the bland tone legalese that these things usually employ. Though there is quite a lot of that in there if you bother to read it and I bet FCK has been sitting in someone's drawer for as long as French Connection's FCUK had been winning awards.

The real issue is how did it make their customers feel? Has it mended their view of KFC's distribution incompetence? Is sorry enough? Shouldn't they have offered some sort of coupon compensation to disappointed customers?

 My immediate reaction was that they better be absolutely sure they had got to the bottom of their problems before they did this. And what has now happened - well this month they've apparently run out of gravy. Are they going to run another ad to apologise for that?

When Tylenol were hit by extortionists claiming to have poisoned some of their products in 1982, they didn't offer apologies, they acted decisively and removed every one of their products from the shelves of every store in the United States.

That's how you offer customer reassurance. By deeds not words. Because if your product fails, you have a product problem not an advertising one.

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