What is the background and context?
Gamers are a huge opportunity for brands: with over 100 million1 PC gamers in the MENA region, the gaming industry is booming among young Arabs. On the top list, Saudi Arabia was in the 19th position globally in gaming revenues in 2019, at an estimated $837m. The sector is expected to grow at a 22.5 per cent CAGR over 2019-20252.
While worldwide, KFC has established a credibility in gaming. In the MENA region, despite the huge opportunity and ever-growing audience, KFC had not built any equity with gamers yet. This appeared as crystal clear.
Other fast-food brands are gaming hard.
Globally, for example, Wendy’s infiltrated a two-week limited time event called “Food Fight” in the online video game Fortnite, a grudge match between Team Burger and Team Pizza.
In the region, McDonald’s invited gamers into the animated world of ‘Maccas Mini Games’ with a new spot that combines the restaurant’s iconic meals with fun mobile challenges.
The first barrier we had to overcome was that we didn’t have the budgets to go big in gaming. The second barrier was even more challenging: gamers aren’t fond of advertising - and that’s an understatement.
Who is our target audience?
In 2020, gamers became an even more critical audience for KFC.
COVID-19 has made gaming explode. Consoles and Gaming PCs sales were booming. Gamers were putting more hours day by day. Gaming became a way to connect with isolated friends and have serious fun together. However, the meal breaks always cut the buzz - and force them to pause their experience.
What was the challenge?
How can KFC connect with the gaming occasion and boost its sales without pausing gamers – and do all this with a tiny budget?
What was the insight that unlocked our strategic approach?
To become part of the gaming occasion without alienating gamers, we had to truly understand their culture:
• Gaming puts them in a meditative-like state of flow (until it’s time to eat!)
• The less messy the meal is, the more gaming time they get.
• Gamers are united by one universal language.
• Hunting for easter eggs and cheat codes is a fun part of gaming culture.
All the above shaped the opportunity we were striving for: a way to hijack the gaming experience but in KFC style.
What was the creative idea?
Shift K+F+C. A simple keyboard command. The idea was to create a cheat code to shortcut the ordering process on KFC website and unlock a unique menu item.
Why did this campaign succeed?
Shift K+F+C was so easy to use. As easy as playing Warzone with 3 buddies (got it?). This project gave us a deep understanding of the gaming community and set us up on track for many more meaningful ways to engage with their culture and deliver on their needs. It was also positively received by the gaming community and shared by many influencers who contributed to amplify the buzz around it.