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March 24, 2008

Kentucky Grilled Chicken - KFC's New Coke Naming Moment?

grilledchicken.gifIn the coming weeks you can expect to see "Now Grilling" signs at select KFC stores. And storefront signs
will be changed to feature "Kentucky Grilled Chicken." The London Free
Press says that "Even the brand's ubiquitous chicken buckets will get a

Doug Hasselo, KFC's chief food innovation officer, says: "This is transformational for our brand."

All kinds of things have to happen to make this naming work.

First of all, customers have to accept that KFC can grill chicken and that the product is indeed healthier than its fried alternative. Will they really believe that a piece of grilled chicken from KFC is better for them than a piece of extra crispy chicken?

More than that, many loyal customers are not going to like this kind of
brand name dilution. Circle of Food wonders if the sides will also get a makeover. Some executives have pointed out that if you want to eat healthy, you can't "just chow down on biscuits."

new-coke-1.gifI think this is either going to be major coup for KFC or an unmitigated New Coke-like disaster. The name itself, Kentucky Grilled Chicken, will refocus consumers on what KFC actually stands for, a case of one step
forward and one step back.

The other thing that must worry some executives at Yum foods, KFC's parent company, is that Kentucky is not really the grilling center of the United States. When I think about grilled chicken, I think possibly of Subway.KFC_Logo.gif

I wonder what Colonel Sanders would think? I'd hate to be the one to tell him!

Maybe they should run an add showing that the Colonel left behind a top secret grilled chicken recipe.

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Posted by William Lozito at March 24, 2008 7:39 AM
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