KFC Fiasco measured by social media

The big story in Ad Age this week was the KFC Grilled Chicken Fiasco. Basically, Oprah announced a free grilled chicken promotion on her show, KFC was ill-prepared for the promotion and ended up pulling the plug in the middle of the day. Read more…

The interesting thing to me was not that KFC had a botched marketing promotion but more how Ad Age and others measured the negative reaction through social media.

Ad Age measures the buzz around the promotion through social media, “According to Zeta Interactive, which monitors blog chatter, KFC generally popped up in about 538 blog posts daily, with 72% of mentions positive. During the promotion, that number soared to 1,319 mentions, 89% of which were positive. But cutting the cord on Thursday had a immediate negative effect, with 772 posts. Negative ratings shot up, to 33%”. KFC begs to differ on the results. But positive or negative, Ad Age is running a story on May 11th about a promotion that started only a week before, May 4th, and already had real time results to back up their story. Zeta Interactive monitored blog response, but the same analytics can apply to twitter updates and facebook updates. As an experiment, I tried to use twitter’s advanced search tool, typed in keyword KFC, and analyzed the positive and negative responses from May 4th until today (May 14th). Twitter froze on me so I was unable to get past May 8th. So, the system is not perfect yet. However, the groudwork of obtaining real-time results on consumer opinions has been laid. For the small-mid size company that may not be able to hire a social monitoring company like Zeta Interactive, an in-house marketing person can monitor real time results too on a much smaller scale. Keep in mind, twitter users are a small segment of the population and are more likely to be a “creator” or  “opinion leader” and might not reflect the population as a whole. However, if you monitor the chatter, the general trending is definitely a great way to gauge how well a promotion, sponsorship, or any other marketing program is doing. Some will argue that generating buzz is always a good thing, negative or positive…I guess we’ll find out how KFC does over the next few weeks.

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