In the year 2013, the Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) chain Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), had launched Rice Bowls to make a mark in the Indian market with the aim to position itself as not just a snacking option, but also a restaurant where customers could have lunch.
The brand has now launched yet another marketing campaign towards this end. This time, the item being promoted is the '5 in 1 Lunch Box' which includes a starter (chicken based), the Rice Bowl, fried chicken, a soft drink, and a dessert (chocolate-based).
Recall that brands that have leveraged the popularity of Mumbai's Dabbawalas include automobile marketer Nissan, Bacter Shield, and Star Plus, which did so during its launch of Masterchef India.
KFC has earmarked 15 per cent of its annual marketing spends for this particular campaign.
Rahul Shinde, managing director, KFC India, tells afaqs! that the target group comprises young adults in the 15-25 years age bracket. He says, "We want to address their needs, whether it is their 'meal needs', their 'snacking needs', or their 'group occasions'." KFC, Shinde informs, revamps its menu once a year.
For this, he adds, his team took inspiration from what one would typically have at home, or what our mothers would cook for us.
But, how? "By offering protein (chicken) in two different flavours, starch (rice), a drink, and a dessert," says Shinde.
De-coding the marketing effort...
We asked our communications experts to comment on the brand's marketing efforts.
Is KFC trying to position itself as a QSR with a healthy meal option (going by the stark difference in the body mass index of the two actors in the ad film)? Or, is it simply trying to promote a new item on the menu?
Amit Akali, co-founder, WYP Brand Solutions, says, "I don't think the ad is even remotely about the '5 in 1' box being a healthy option. Neither is the villain the burger and the fries. This ad is purely about 'more' versus less, that is, someone who's got five things versus someone who's got just one thing."
Akali further adds that it's a pure 'promo' ad. "It's a pretty direct 'offer' ad -- nothing particularly creative about the story. It's a direct comparison between two offerings," he says.
Throwing in a line about the execution, Akali, says, "I like the music. It helps hold the film together and makes it more interesting."
Harish Bijoor, chief executive officer, Consults Inc., talks about the need for QSRs to ramp up given the competition they're facing from the young, rapidly growing food delivery segment. "It is not enough for people to have customers walking in anymore; it is important for them to take out as well. QSRs are all struggling because of the walk-ins not being that good," says Bijoor.
Elaborating further about QSRs working hard at getting customers to come in and try new items on the menu and call for these items as well, Bijoor says, "QSRs are learning from the e-commerce movement, and more importantly, the food delivery movement. Suddenly, competition has increased, thanks to all these guys who deliver lunch at your doorstep. So, every company which is delivering food at your doorstep is actually fighting against KFC which is trying really hard."
QSRs, experts like Bijoor notice, have re-invented their menus and delivery patterns, and are reiterating their core competence in their ad campaigns of late. The word 'fried' in KFC's brand name itself connotes snacking, feels Bijoor. "In India, fried stuff like fried pakodas, for instance, imply snacking," he says. Rice, on the other hand, connotes 'lunch' and 'meal' in this market.
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