September 21, 2010 // Franchising.com // LOUISVILLE, KY - Forget park benches, sky writing or on-blimp advertising. KFC is taking advertising to a whole new medium: the backsides of college sweat pants.
Via the creative on-clothing ad campaign, the chicken chain will recruit college co-eds to serve as "human billboards." On select college campuses, female undergraduates will sport KFC Double Down branded sweat pants to encourage students to try the unique bun-less sandwich.
KFC launched the initiative this week in Louisville, Ky., where brand ambassadors sporting the one-of-a-kind Double Down clothing attracted fellow students across campus with KFC gift certificates. Female students interested in becoming ambassadors at their schools may contact KFC on the company's Facebook page (www.facebook.com/kfc). KFC will select students at three additional campuses and outfit them with the customized sweat pants, KFC gift checks to distribute and a $500 stipend for their involvement.
"It's hard to imagine anyone escaped the buzz of the Double Down earlier this year," said John Cywinski, Chief Marketing and Food Innovation Officer for KFC. "But in an effort to reach consumers coast-to-coast, and especially our key target of young men, we've established yet another advertising first – one that's fitting of the Double Down's head-turning history."
KFC also is encouraging Double Down fans to unite and show their loyalty to the one-of-a-kind sandwich by joining the "Order of the Double Down" via a new KFC Facebook page. There, fans are encouraged to profess their love of the sandwich, challenge their friends to eat the "Greater Food" and consult the Double Down Oracle.
The one-of-a-kind Double Down features two thick and juicy boneless white meat chicken filets (Original Recipe® or Grilled), two pieces of bacon, two melted slices of Monterey Jack and pepper jack cheese and Colonel's Sauce. The sandwich contains 540 calories, similar to many of the burgers available at fast food restaurants today. The Double Down is also available in a grilled version, which checks in at 460 calories.
KFC first made news with its unique advertising in 2006 when it unveiled a newly re-designed logo so big it could be seen from space. In 2009, to communicate a message about fresh chicken, KFC branded repaired potholes to read "Re-Freshed by KFC," and earlier this year, the brand funded fire safety improvements in exchange for placing a Hot Wings logo on fire hydrants and extinguishers. KFC also recently encouraged America to "Get a Grip" on its Boneless Filet Box meal by securing sports marketing deals with athletes known for their strong grips.
KFC Corporation, based in Louisville, Ky., is the world's most popular chicken restaurant chain specializing in Original Recipe®, Extra Crispy®, Kentucky Grilled Chicken™ and Crispy Strips with home-style sides, Honey BBQ Wings, and freshly made chicken sandwiches. There are more than 15,000 KFC outlets in 109 countries and territories around the world serving some 12 million customers each day. KFC Corporation is a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, Inc., Louisville, Ky. (NYSE: YUM.)
The Kentucky Fried Chicken concept was pioneered by Colonel Harland Sanders (1890-1980), whose cooking career began at age six. Sanders held jobs ranging from streetcar conductor to insurance salesman, but his cooking skills were a constant throughout his life. In 1930, Sanders operated a service station in Corbin, Ky., and filled the stomachs of hungry travelers who stopped in to fill up their gas tanks. Sanders soon moved his restaurant across the street when he could no longer keep up with the demand from travelers who he had been feeding at his kitchen table. In 1935, the Kentucky Governor made Sanders an honorary Kentucky Colonel for his contributions to the state's cuisine. Over the next decade, the Colonel perfected his secret blend of 11 herbs and spices and the basic cooking technique still used at KFC today. When Sanders was 65, a new interstate highway forced the closure of his restaurant and he was left with only his recipe for fried chicken and a $105 Social Security check. The Colonel hit the road and struck handshake deals with restaurant owners who agreed to sell his fried chicken. What began as a dream fueled by the Original Recipe, a no-quit attitude and a Social Security check grew into the world's largest chicken restaurant chain. Until he passed away in 1980 at the age of 90, the Colonel still traveled 250,000 miles a year visiting KFC restaurants around the world.