How NOT to Use YouTube: KFC Botches the Apology

It’s hard to imagine a promotion as poorly planned and executed as KFC’s Grilled Chicken fiasco.

If you’ve been living in a cave for the past week or so, here’s a quick review of the clusterpluck:

To promote their new Kentucky Grilled Chicken, KFC offered a downloadable coupon for a free  meal. And had Oprah Winfrey announce it on her show. KFC was completely unprepared for the response — their computer servers couldn’t handle the crush of downloads, and their restaurant servers either couldn’t or wouldn’t honor all the coupons.

A day later, KFC announced that it would no longer honor the coupons. Instead, they instituted a truly cumbersome raincheck procedure. Customers were instructed to bring their coupons to a KFC store, where they would be required to fill out a form requesting a rain check — and wait for KFC to mail them their rain check. At which time they would have to make a second trip to KFC.

It might seem impossible for KFC to make the situation any worse, but they were up to the challenge. Here is KFC President Roger Eaton’s astonishing “apology” video:

KFC was already in a hole before they released the video. From his unfortunate foreign accent to his smirky grin to his bizarre non sequitur (“Everyone wants to get the great taste of our new product, so we can’t redeem your free coupon at this time.”), Eaton just kept digging it deeper.

What has he learned from all this?

“Clearly, America loves the great taste of Kentucky Grilled Chicken!

The take-away message: it’s not KFC’s fault — it’s America’s fault!

This one will be studied in marketing classes for decades to come.


Check out Phil Bernstein’s Facebook Fan Page — and become a Fan – here

Click here to learn the shocking truth about Phil Bernstein

Click this link to subscribe to Portland’s Finest Advertising and Marketing Blog.

Request your free copy of Phil Bernstein’s white paper, The Seven Deadly Advertising Mistakes and How to Fix Them here.

Got a question? Call Phil Bernstein, Portland’s Advertising Expert, at 503-323-6553.


Sign up for my blog updates and never miss a post. I'll send you the first two chapters of my new book, Breakthrough Prospecting, as a thank-you.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

Your Chance to Be Heard -- Comment Here!

6 thoughts on “How NOT to Use YouTube: KFC Botches the Apology

  1. It’s not a cave, it’s a third world country. Actually, KFC is the only American fast food I’ve seen in Vietnam and the locals don’t seem to care about this marketing blunder.