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Veganuary: What the cluck?

KFC Veganuary

Veganuary: What the cluck?

How one chicken shop can teach everyone a thing or two about PR as it wins the Veganuary wars.

More than 400,000 people from across the world signed up to take part in Veganuary 2020, a notable 60% increase from 2019 figures. Health, animal and environmental reasons are the top three motives for its surge in popularity – and whether you share the same views or not, there’s a huge £572M market for brands to tap into, in the UK alone. Let’s take a look to see which fast food 2020 Veganuary campaign hit the nail on the head, and which one didn’t…

KFC – The Vegan Burger = Winner, winner, vegan dinner!

It’s an interesting one, because you’d think that a brand built entirely on chicken wouldn’t appeal to the vegan market, but what we have to remember is that Veganuary isn’t only for die-hard vegans, it is also for flexitarians (people who are cutting down on meat for health and environmental reasons).

How do we know it was a success? 

KFC sold 1 million vegan burgers last month.

What made it a hit? 

Well, like any successful PR campaign, it begins with knowing your audience and tailoring your communications to pull them in, and KFC did just that. It doesn’t take Einstein to figure out that the main consumers of its ‘chickenless’ burger won’t be animal rights activists (the clue is in the title of the brand!) who miss the taste of chicken.

So, with a pinch of common sense, a coating of its original recipe 11 herbs and spices, backed up with some pre-campaign research which showed that flexitarians, vegans and vegetarians missed the smell and taste of KFC, the right message was able to target the right audience, and in the right place.

KFC is renowned for its social media campaigns, using humour and witty acronyms even in a PR crisis – remember how it responded to its #ChickenCrisis with its award-winning social media FCK campaign? It always keeps the same tone and consistency and remains on brand – a good lesson for any business. And obviously, its vegan social campaign was no different, more clever acronyms; ‘KFV’ and amusing content to get users engaging.

Ok, so that’s our winning fast food Veganuary campaign explained, and hopefully you can learn a lesson or two from it. Just remember who your target audience is, how to best target them, and importantly where they are hanging out, so that your comms can actually reach them. It sounds basic, but you’d be amazed at how many get it wrong…                                                 

Burger King – Rebel Whopper campaign = Epic fail!

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, authenticity always wins. Cashing in on the vegan pound won’t always make you rich. We all know how great social media is when you want to engage with a national or even global social movement, but equally, get it wrong and be prepared for some serious brand reputation damage

Of course, naturally, brands do make mistakes, just like we mentioned earlier when KFC ran out of chicken, luckily KFC owned it and turned a negative PR situation into a positive with its clever FCK campaign. But consumers are a little less forgiving when they suspect a brand is just simply trying to make a quick buck, which Burger King was accused of doing when it released its Rebel Whopper burger alongside Veganuary, only it turned out not to be Vegan or even suitable for Vegetarians. 

To add further salt to the wound, once Burger King had received public criticism over the campaign, it made the fatal error of announcing that it never intended to target vegans, only flexitarians who are looking to reduce meat. Word of advice; don’t jump on the Veganuary brand wagon if you are not offering something Vegan!

Own it, be honest and be authentic or you will be caught out! 

Did you take part in Veganuary? Which brands do you think did it the best? Tweet us @NeoPRLtd.

Jade Porter-Harris

Account Executive.

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