What’s Up With KFC’s Latest Marketing Tactic?
The fast-food company that’s made international waves with its chicken is now advertising its macaroni and cheese bowls with a dating simulator. It’s the name? “I Love You, Colonel Sanders! A Finger-Licking Good Dating Simulator.”
For the sake of exploring this truly unique advertisement, I dove into the game and tried to suss out why KFC marketing decided to pursue this marketing avenue. What does the content of the game involve? How have consumers responded to its release?
Let me tell you all about it.
Meet the Content
“I Love You, Colonel Sanders” takes its cues from several other dating simulators currently on the market, including “Dream Daddy” and “Hatoful Boyfriend.” Available through Steam, the curious user can play this game for free. You download the game through the Steam interface and choose a name for your character.
After that, you’ve whisked away into a three-day culinary school semester wherein you’ll meet:
- Academic rivals
- Your hyperactive best friend
- A dog professor named “Sprinkles”
- A living oven
- A spork monstrosity
- And, most importantly, an extremely single, anime-styled Colonel Sanders
Over the three days, you have to earn your degree, take part in cooking competitions, attempt to keep your dog professor from eating too many biscuits, and subtly woo the Colonel away from his culinary enterprises.
…So What’s With the Game?
The overall goal of the game is to a) increase KFC’s brand awareness, b) grow its audience, and c) sell its latest invention: loaded macaroni bowls. That final point becomes clear at the end of the game when Colonel Sanders presents this “perfectly balanced bowl” in the school’s cooking competition. (Professor Dog is so delighted that he passes everyone in attendance.)
But why use a dating simulator? The time and effort needed to code this project, let aloe animate it, must have seriously redirected some of KFC’s resources.
However ridiculous it may seem, this dating simulator is a prime example of long-term, engaging content. The dialogue in the game is self-aware but funny; the concept is hilarious and hard to believe. The shock value alone is enough to draw attention to a fast-food chain that hasn’t been able to monetize its mascot before. Once you move past that initial sensationalism, you find a game that lovingly reflects on the dating sim genre and also sells a product – all without becoming a parody of itself.
What Do Customers Think?
So far, it seems that this advertisement has drawn a positive response. Receptive consumers who are willing to overlook the advertising nature of the dating sim have been swept up by the honestly impressive artwork in the game and the romantic appeal of Colonel Sanders (yes, really). Those a little more aware of KFC’s aims have found the game admittedly strange, but harmless.
And sure, there have been some negative responses. Representatives of the dating sim genre condemning its cheesy approach to a demeaned genre. However, the overall feedback and resulting attention is undeniable.
How Can You Learn from KFC Marketing?
VitaminWater has conquered the arena of video game advertising, and now KFC has followed suit to great success. Could your company be next? While far-out marketing isn’t on everyone’s horizon, these are great examples of companies that blur industry lines for the sake of relatability.
Want to continue to stand out in an ad-saturated internet landscape? Take a leaf from these marketing strategies and start thinking outside the box.
Is your company in need of help? MV3 Marketing Agency has numerous Marketing experts ready to assist you. Contact MV3 Marketing to jump-start your business.
Image attribution: Denys Prykhodov – stock.adobe.com