The KFC Coupon Fiasco



Case Code : CLMM045
Publication date : 2009
Subject : Marketing Management
Industry : Fast Food Industry
Length : 05 Pages
Price : Rs. 100

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Key words:

KFC, Oprah Winfrey, crisis management, KFC coupons, promotions


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This short case study describes the botched promotional campaign where Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) offered coupons which promised a free 'Kentucky Grilled Chicken' meal through The Oprah Winfrey Show, the popular talk show. The case describes how the overwhelming response to the offer resulted in KFC being unable to honor the coupons at many outlets, leading to angry complaints from customers, and negative publicity in the media.


   Planning a promotional campaign.
   Crisis management.
   Building effective public relations.


On May 8, 2009 the President of the fast food chain KFC, Roger Eaton (Eaton) appeared on the Oprah Winfrey (Oprah) Show and apologized for taking the decision to not honor the KFC coupons, which were earlier promoted through the show. The KFC coupons, which were to be downloaded from and, could be redeemed for a free 'Kentucky Grilled Chicken' (KGC) meal within a two-day period, starting from May 5, 2009...

Questions for Discussion:

1. What are the specific mistakes that KFC made in the planning and preparation for this promotion? How could it have handled it better?
2. Evaluate KFC's response to the crisis.
3. What are consequences, both positive and negative, of this promotion for KFC? What else can KFC do, to prevent this incident from having long-term negative implications?

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5. Crisis Management at Bausch & Lomb - The 'ReNu Moistureloc' Controversy
6. The Firestone Tire Controversy