actually launch KFC's world-famous Zinger chicken sandwich into
space?" Lowe asks in a new 90-second digital spot. "And the answer
is, we certainly hope so. Our entire marketing campaign depends on
The ad is
the first 90-second spot in the chain's colonel campaign. A
30-second version will run on TV beginning Sunday.
As far as
the space stunt goes, while details are scarce, Hochman said. "I've
never seen anything like this."
clearly not the first marketer to send its brand up in the air.
chair stunt happened in 2009. Fans of
Natural Light beer claimed to send the brew to space two years
Red Bull's daredevil and a can of the drink soared 120,000 feet
high in 2012, and a
Jose Cuervo margarita was shaken 100,000 feet up in
campaign has a bit of a throwback feel and is nostalgic for Lowe.
His grandfather, who was head of the Ohio chapter of the National
Restaurant Association in the 1960s, took him to meet Col. Sanders
years ago, he recalled in a statement.
thought this would be a nice homage to both Colonel Sanders and to
my grandfather," said Lowe, the movie and TV actor whose best-known
commercials until now were a series of DirecTV spots.
often an executive admits to having a sub-par product. Hochman
clearly has been longing to serve up a better chicken
not exactly first to the game on chicken sandwiches, right?" he
said in an interview.
had chicken sandwiches. But until recently they were made with
frozen rather than fresh chicken. "Quite frankly, it's not
competitive enough," Hochman said of KFC's sandwiches, such as the
now discontinued Doublicious.
interest growing in sandwiches, where it's been a small player.
Sandwiches account for 40% of all fried chicken servings sold at
U.S. fast food restaurants, Hochman said. They're easier to eat on
the go than bone-in pieces, appeal to lunchtime diners, and women
prefer chicken sandwiches more than other products, he
sandwiches currently account for about 3% of sales or less at KFC,
depending on the location.
the Zinger to the U.S. has taken about two years. The Zinger,
however, is now new. It is now served in about 120 countries,
following its launch in Trinidad and Tobago back in
so long? One issue: KFC's U.S. kitchens were not configured to
allow workers to quickly bread, fry and assemble a sandwich. So KFC
spent $80 million over about two years to get some new equipment.
It also trained staff, who began preparing fresh chicken for
sandwiches last year with the chicken tenders served in the Chicken
Littles sandwich, gearing up for the Zinger.
volume of that smaller sandwich has doubled over the last six
months, Hochman said. It was essentially relaunched with Crispy
Colonel ads featuring George Hamilton last summer, followed
by Vincent Kartheiser's Nashville Hot version and
Billy Zane promoting the Georgia Gold flavor.
chains already promote fresh, never frozen fried chicken, including
tenders-focused Raising Cane's and PDQ, which says its name stands
for People Dedicated to Quality. Plus, Shake Shack has seen much
success with its Chick'n Shack sandwich.
welcome competition like that because it does upgrade people's
expectations," Hochman said.
food, Chick-fil-A is the nation's leading chicken-centric chain by
a wide margin. Burger giants have long served fried chicken
sandwiches, typically prepared with frozen chicken even at Wendy's,
which prides itself on fresh-never-frozen beef. The Zinger may help
KFC gain more market share and extend its streak of 10 consecutive
quarters of growth in U.S. same-store sales and
it's a good alignment with the brand, it certainly makes them more
competitive and it offers a better quality to their customer who
may be willing to upgrade," said Technomic Chief Insights Officer
of that effort, will the Zinger stick around? It seems likely, but
not definite. For now, it is only set to be sold or 14 weeks, at
$3.99 on its own or for $5 as a Fill Up with potato wedges, a
cookie, and a medium drink.
are hoping it can earn its way on the menu permanently," Hochman