Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Never underestimate Oprah

The most powerful woman in show business is at it again. Oprah, who made Dr. Phil and Raechel Ray television stars and has given authors a very visible platform for commercial success via her book club, has now impacted the business of a well-known fast-food chain.

KFC found out last week just how powerful is Oprah's reach when she offered up the opportunity for a free grilled chicken two-piece meal. Consumers were directed to Oprah's website for the next 24 hours where they could download a coupon for the meal. What happened next is every prepared marketer's dream...and every unprepared marketer's nightmare.

Customers flooded KFC restaurants. Many outlets had long lines, interminable wait times and general frenzy. Needless to say, this was not handled in the same quality manner as Denny's recent free breakfast offer.

Bloggers reported negatively on the consumer experience. Customer complaints revolved around the inability to download the coupon, due to website traffic, to restaurants' poor handling of the situation.

Chalk this one up to a positive mention by arguably the country's most powerful endorser, but which quickly went south for KFC.

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