8 of KFC's Weirdest and Most Wonderful Promotional Stunts
The fried chicken chain has done everything from sunscreen to space travel.
To the marketing masterminds behind KFC: We salute you. We’re not sure how you’ve managed to elevate a fast-food chain’s promotions from humdrum to hilarious, but you did it. Over the past year, we’ve seen it all: chicken-flavored chocolates, framed chicken artwork, a chicken-themed novella, and even a chicken sandwich meteorite. We’ve compiled our favorites below, so we hope you’re ready to laugh a lot, cringe a little, and—if you’re lucky—emerge smelling like chicken.
We haven’t had a chance to read “Tender Wings of Desire” yet, so we can’t give a full review. But it looks pretty great, and the cover features Colonel Harland Sanders alongside, um, some lady. How romantic! All you had to do to indulge in the chicken-fueled romance this past Mother’s Day was purchase the $20 Fill Up extra crispy chicken bucket.
Because you may like your chicken extra crispy, but certainly not...your...skin? We guess? Yeah, this happened. "The sun gives us life. But if we're not careful it also gives us painful sunburns,” read a press release from the fast-food chain back in August 2016. “That's why we made KFC's Extra CrispyTM Sunscreen! Its SPF helps protect your skin while the real fried chicken scent leaves you smelling delicious!” There was even an entire website dedicated to the stuff when the promotion debuted.
Most recently, KFC unveiled their online shop filled with “chicken couture” merchandise. We first clicked on the site, dubbed KFC Ltd., to have a good laugh, but found that its offerings were actually pretty on-trend. No, really. From fried chicken socks that subtly “add a pop of drumstick to any ensemble” to a “Finger Lickin’ Good” necklace, we were happily surprised. There’s also a “real, space-made meteorite from space” in the shape of the brand’s Zinger chicken sandwich, listed at a cool $20,000.
This could’ve been really, really bad. But the brand went ahead and partnered up with artisan chocolatier Kako Chocolate to make these chicken-flavored chocolates happen, so we have a bit more faith that the end result was actually somewhat tasty. Each limited-edition box contained four chocolates, with two of each creative flavor: A "nutty and creamy milk chocolate truffle topped with 23 carat gold leaf and seasoned with the Colonel's eleven secret herbs and spices," and a "dark chocolate truffle infused with their signature hot and spicy marinade."
Fried chicken crust. Mozzarella cheese. Pizza sauce. Ham. Pineapple. KFC’s "special cheese sauce. ‘Nuff said. Too bad it was only available in the Phillipines.
Aren’t all the best Valentine’s Day gifts a little quirky? Available only in Canada, the heart-shaped boxes contained the signature fried chicken, and could be shipped to friends, significant others, moms...whomever. To participate, you’d visit a KFC-sponsored site, enter your Valentine’s information, and pick one of three "romantic" poem options to be written on the lid of the box. “Romantic” is in quotes for a reason. But honestly, this was pretty adorable. Weird, but adorable.
In honor of National Fried Chicken Day last week, KFC brought Colonel Sanders to life as a robot...or rather, as a press release from the brand stated, a “state-of-the-art voice modulator system that gives drive-thru customers the experience they've always dreamed of: ordering from an animatronic Colonel Sanders head that speaks in the voice of Colonel Sanders.” Oh come on, like you’ve never dreamed about that.
Earlier this year, the chicken brand launched their Zinger sandwich, and with it came the revelation that the new menu item would be making its way into the heavens. As seen above, using special balloons designed for long-term missions in the outer reaches of the atmosphere, a payload that included a fried chicken sandwich made its way upwards of 80,000 feet above the ground.