This campaign showcases how KFC was able to play on a very simple insight that’s ingrained within the culture of the region and turned a negative situation upside down. The creative idea went all out on the saying “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em”.
Instead of going after its image thieves, KFC capitalized on the situation in a playful way: helping them steal the images as long as they do it right. In the end, the brand comes out with free advertising and a funny story for people to talk about.
Did you know that people steal KFC’s product photos? Yes, it happens.
Counterfeits are everywhere. Clothes, bags, shoes, phones, watches, jewelry, movies, and everything in between. But a thing that is commonly counterfeited is something you wouldn’t expect: KFC photos.
From the largest cities to the smallest villages across the MENA region, restaurants, corner shops and cafeterias share a very familiar set of photos: KFC’s fried chicken, Zingers, Twisters, etc. And the reality was that there was very little KFC could do about it.
That’s not the worst part. KFC is very proud of their photos. They’re intentionally crafted to be mouthwatering, craveable. Anyone gets tempted by them.
However, these photos were being murdered: copied in low resolution, stretched, inverted, distorted, even pixelated beyond recognition.
A crime against KFC’s reputation.
The Interpretation of the Challenge (30% of vote)
KFC’s reputation was on the line.
KFC puts a lot of effort into not just making their food taste great but look amazing as well. You could say these are the reasons for your sudden cravings - and others were using them. Worse: counterfeit copies were also ruining them.
Those beautifully produced images, taken and retouched with care and intention, were beyond recognition. Bad resolution, cropped, distorted. And some of them even shamelessly carried elements from the KFC brandbook.
The central problem here? Crappy misplaced KFC photos could ruin decades of effort in building attributes such as quality, taste and trust. That simply won’t do.
We needed a way to turn a negative situation upside down, while still owning everyone else’s food shots and bringing people’s attention to the matter.
More importantly, we wanted the truth out there: all these delicious looking chicken images come from one place: KFC.
The Insight / Breakthrough Thinking (30% of vote)
If others were going to steal product shots from KFC, well, at least do it properly.
It turns out the answer was rather simple: It is said that imitation is the best form of flattery; and KFC was being flattered over and over again. Also, we can’t fight back and sue every one of them. So why fight an endless battle?
Let’s get them to do KFC’s bidding. Instead of pursuing those that kept distorting our food shots, we decided to help them: if you want to steal our photos, please do it right. After all, the better it looks, the more KFC can benefit. And the more other restaurants and shops used KFC photos, the better.
At the same time, it was time everyone knew the truth: our food looks so good, others can’t help themselves. While images are easy to steal, Finger Lickin’ Good taste is not.
The Creative Idea (20% of vote)
Introducing KFC Chicken Stock: an image database filled with delicious drool-worthy chicken for anyone to use by downloading high-resolution KFC photos in all their glory, absolutely free.
In this way, anyone who used the brand’s photos was giving KFC free advertising. Instead of getting people’s mouths watering through media buys, competitors were doing it for us.
To start a conversation, we told people the truth in newspapers: “Others are stealing our pictures, but we can’t blame them, they look mouthwatering. That’s why we’re letting them do it, as long as they do it right.”
Downloading the photos also gave away their location, letting us push an OOH campaign in those locations, reinforcing the same point: “KFC is so craveable, that even competitors cannot help themselves. While our images are easy to steal, our taste isn’t.”
The Outcome / Results (20% of vote)
Our image bank made over 500+ chicken images available for everyone to download.
And it worked! We got over 4,378 downloads from the entire region. (That means that more than 100 small restaurants, cafeterias and corner shops downloaded images!)
We received over 256,400 unique visitors on the website, proving we don’t just have the most craveable chicken, but also a great sense of humor and a magnanimous attitude – even to counterfeiters.
Meanwhile the impact on the perception of KFC was huge as per the results of our online community survey: the brand was seen as increasing in “Modernity” by 37% and “Likeability” by 24% - very important metrics for a heritage brand.
Meanwhile, zero (yes, zero) photo thief was arrested, and all enjoyed a nice meal.
Because good chicken is not just about great taste, it’s also about great moments together.