FRIED CHICKEN RETURNS TO TOP OF KFC'S MENU: NEW FOCUS COMES AFTER SLOWDOWN IN SAME-STORE SALES FOR CHAIN

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KFC Corp. is scrapping its 3-year-old "Everybody needs a little KFC" tagline as it returns the spotlight to the product that made the chain famous: Col. Sander's Original Recipe fried chicken.

"Isn't it time for some really good chicken?" is the tag on new spots from Y&R Advertising, New York, set to debut during CBS' coverage of the Winter Olympic Games, which begins Feb. 6.

The change comes as the chicken chain, spun off from PepsiCo last October as part of Tricon Global Restaurants, has seen a slow-down in sales after several quarters of impressive increases. Same-store sales were flat in the third quarter and are expected to be up just 1% for the quarter ended Dec. 31.

One TV spot has a figure-skating theme and features a fringed arm chair that leaps and spins on the ice. The chair scores a perfect 10, promoting a deal offering 10 pieces of chicken for $7.99, according to an executive close to KFC. The chair appears as a hockey goalie and a luge in other spots.

FOR LARGER FAMILY MEALS

The $7.99 offer is aimed at luring customers into restaurants to trade up to larger family meals for $12.99, according to a franchisee familiar with the plans.

The campaign will also have a major print component, including a buy in USA Today.

"There is some good use of humor in the ads," said Wallace Hebert, marketing director for JRN, a 93-unit KFC franchisee. "If you're going to watch the Olympics from your chair, then you need, by golly, some KFC."

KFC confirmed the plans but declined further comment.

Mr. Hebert said the new tagline reminds consumers KFC has superior chicken. Recent campaigns have highlighted KFC's new products, like pot pies and chicken strips. "We're going to brag about Original Recipe, the one that brought us to the dance," he said.

Still, KFC continues to test new sandwich products after the unsuccessful launch last fall of the Twister sandwich. It is currently conducting a market test of several variations of a sandwich in Macon, Ga., according to a franchisee.

Budget for the new campaign could not be determined. KFC spent $128 million on measured media in the first nine months last year, according to Competitive Media Reporting.

Question-mark taglines seem to be suddenly in vogue in the $100 billion fast-food business.

Last fall, McDonald's Corp. launched its new campaign from DDB Needham Worldwide, Chicago, with the tagline "Did somebody say McDonald's?" And Taco Bell introduced TV spots from TBWA Chiat/Day, Venice, Calif., themed, "Want some?"

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