KFC Potholes and Social Network Spotlights

Kentucky Fried Chicken offer to fix potholes in exchange for graffiti – err sorry – advertising on the hole covers.  From The Chicago TribuneOpens in a new tab.


KFC's pothole fix

Colonel Sanders look-alike Bob Thompson helps a repair crew in Louisville “re-fresh” one of the estimated 350 million potholes nationwide. (KFC Corporation photo/ March 24, 2009)

There is a danger on social networks that sell spotlight advertising of the same kind of backlash. We’ll 

Everybody needs a little KFC. But maybe not Chicago.

The fast-food chain has sent off a letter to the nation’s mayors, offering to patch their potholes for free. The company will leave behind a stenciled brand on the patch informing people the road has been “Re-Freshed by KFC.”

“In honor of our “Fresh Tastes Best” campaign, we want to come and Re-“Fresh” your roads!” KFC president Roger Eaton says in the letter. “Every patched pothole comes with the Colonel’s very own stamp of approval.”

But Brian Steele, a spokesman for the Chicago Department of Transportation, which is charged with repairing the city’s potholes, said “We don’t allow any type of printing or advertising placed on a city street or sidewalk.” (more hereOpens in a new tab.)

kfcSpotlight ads on social networks sometimes come across the same way – a company doing their customers a favour by fixing their little problems in return for slapping logos everywhere. Spotlighting is a kind of sponsorship – a forum becomes ‘The KFC forum” the video gallery “The KFC Channel” – sort of the same way that brands snaffle entertainment real world social spaces like Telstra Stadium. You can do it, and there’s revenue in them there social spotlights, but you have to be careful.   My old post saidOpens in a new tab.:

Our children observe a world filled with advertising and emulate it in their graffiti. Are they responsible for not understanding that only certain people can dump branding on certain walls? Advertising is branding and expression of the company. Graffiti is self-branding and self-expression of the individual.

Offering spotlight spots in online social networks to brands will evoke the same question of informative content vs spam graffiti. You don’t wanna be that guy when the community decides it’s the latter.

Laurel Papworth

Named by Forbes™ Magazine in the Top 50 Social Media Influencers globally, named Head of Industry, Social Media (Marketing Magazine™) and in the Power150 Media bloggers (AdAge™). CERT IV Training and Assessment certified trainer (Diplomas and Certificates etc) Adult Education. Laurel has manager Facebook Pages for Junior Masterchef, Idol, Big Brother etc. and have consulted on private online communities for banks Westpac, not for profits UNHCR & governments in SE Asia. Lecturer, social media, University of Sydney for 10 years and Laurel has 11,000 online students. Laurel Papworth personally connects to 6 million followers online and has taught around 100,000 people in the last 10 years how to be social media managers.

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