QSR Brands go Lo-Tech. A Hit or a Miss?
As planners and marketers, we keep consumers’ interest, needs, and mindsets at the forefront of everything we do. Otherwise we’re just making really awesome stuff for ourselves.
One on-trend approach is to merge a lo-fi experience with tech and hybridize it, elevating the entire moment for the audience.
Some thoughts on three recent examples;
KFC’s Memory Bucket is fun and clever. It draws on the nostalgic heart strings for those consumers who have fond memories of eating fried chicken with friends and family. And it also taps on the shoulder of the brand’s uber fans who might think owning a Memory Bucket is a symbol of their elite place in the QSR’s chicken club. And if you somehow missed it, the PR for Grip Limited’s creation is all over the internet (AKA BuzzFeed and Mashable), generating a lot of brand love: at the time of writing this article the Bucket earned 2.4k likes and over 800 shares. But there’s one area it’s come up short: in how it offers KFC consumers’ any value. It’s a very limited release (KFC Canada’s Facebook has said that a “few” will be given away) with no feasible cost-effective way to produce 100s or 1000s of buckets for fans to get their greasy fingers on.
Opinion: A brilliant execution in generating PR noise that got their youth target talking chicken on KFC’s digital and social properties.
Still on the subject of your favourite Colonel-cooked chicken…Popular trend blog PSFK recently featured an article on KFC Romania’s Fakation Campaign which replaces everyday, grease-absorbing tray liners and turns them into backdrops for popular vacation destinations (e.g. Greece, Italy, etc.). Customers are invited to use their hands and fingers to create popular #vacationporn memes, like legs (or are they hotdogs?) at a beach with their fingers, or hands shaped as a heart with the canals of Venice in the background. While not as technologically advanced, the simplicity and accessibility is something MRM/McCann kept in mind to provide a fun, familiar experience for those who can’t afford the real thing.
Pizza, check. Movie, check – your evening is set. Not just how so many of us spend our weekends and weeknights, Pizza Hut’s Movie Projector Box plays to its strength of being an inexpensive lo-fi execution that any of its fans can easily get their hands on (if the live in Hong Kong). The only catch: viewers actually have put their smartphones down, so they can play a movie. Pizza Hut smartly tracks this execution by driving to site to download 4 unique branded videos that elevates the entire experience. It’s a great way to stand out in a competitive landscape and offer a different experience from a stand-out competitor who talks emoji to take orders.
Opinion : Even though the Verge said the sound and image quality aren’t great, Ogilvy Hong Kong’s execution offers additional value beyond the pizza you would have probably ordered anyway.
Then there’s Google cardboard, which won at Grand Prix for mobile at Cannes. And while Google isn’t a food brand (yet), it set the benchmark for merging lo-fi and tech to upgrade how we experience reality. What makes Google cardboard standout is not just that it works really well but also that the whole experience is fluid, from assembly to downloading the app. But the most stand out part of Google Cardboard for me is not just that it builds on our experience of reality, it creates an entirely new one through VR.
Opinion : It’s remarkable. It’s Google. It’s no real surprise. (I’m notably objective)
What makes when lo-fi meets tech really interesting and inspiring for planners is that it allows us another way to think about how we can get audiences to engage, experience, and show love for brands. It’s a whole other way to address their needs through a hybrid, branded experience unavailable before.
This trend can present a problem for strategy: it offers an easy, safe and even predictable (?) approach that appeals to a youthful demographic who are sharp with smartphones…and typically the most coveted audience of any QSR. But is it building any incremental loyalty beyond a funky one-off “experience”? Is it building preference or, heaven forbid, more occasions for the YUM folks at KFC and Pizza Hut? Or is it a guilty pleasure that we’re gonna regret 20 minutes after we finish?
What say you folks?