Sorry, turkey, but it looks like you’ve been out-clucked by chicken this Thanksgiving.
In yet another bizarre marketing ploy, Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) has introduced its most expensive branded experience yet (well, except for that time it launched its spicy Zinger sandwich into space, but we’re pretty sure that was green-screened).
Introducing the $10,000 internet escape pod — a Wi-Fi-proof Faraday cage where customers and their families can enjoy their 16-piece fried chicken wing bucket free of technological distractions. All while getting a huge hug from Colonel Sanders himself, whose bespectacled likeness clings to the top of the (dare we say it — slightly egg-shaped) dome, arms and legs dangling like some sort of overprotective octopus.
George Felix, director of the fast food chain’s U.S. advertising, explained, as reported by CNET.
“We’ve come up with several technologically advanced, creative experiences for our customers and fans this year,” said Felix. “But even we feel the burden of technology during the holiday season. So, we decided to go in the opposite direction and create an anti-technology product, using technology, to help one lucky buyer literally escape the holiday chaos.”
Because taking a nice, long, candlelit bath with one of the company’s limited-edition KFC-scented candles and a chicken-scented bath bomb just wasn’t enough of an escape. Ditto a beach day slathered in the fast food chain’s Extra-Crispy sunscreen.
The rabbit hole keeps going. A KFC chicken keyboard, where every letter is replaced with a tiny image of chicken (except for the letters K, F and C). A pillowcase emblazoned with Colonel Sanders’ face (in case you needed a mustache to nuzzle…?). The edible finger-lickin’ good nail polish, which, as The New York Times noted, brought a whole new meaning to “chicken fingers.”
Weird as KFC’s marketing ploys may be, they are just that: marketing ploys. And they’re certainly accomplishing one thing: KFC’s bizarre tactics are making people stop and say, “Huh?”
In an age when any attention is good attention, that’s Georgia Gold right there. And other companies know it, too. The crossover of food and retail — particularly fashion — is becoming a more commonplace strategy.
For instance, Taco Bell teamed up with Forever 21 to release a limited edition fashion collection earlier this fall. The line included sweatshirts, hoodies, anorak jackets, tops and bodysuits — because what better way is there to show off that taco belly than in a taco-themed bodysuit?
Pizza Hut introduced its own “Pie Top” Bluetooth-powered sneakers that let the wearer order pizza just by pressing the shoe’s tongue. With 70 percent of the restaurant’s digital orders coming from mobile, the move made a lot of strategic sense. Pizza Hut could one day even close the loop by enabling payments via shoe-based mobile payments that Visa and IBM were reportedly working on.
And, of course, KFC made its own foray into fashion not too long ago with its Colonel Sanders-inspired t-shirts, enamel pins, drumstick socks and a classic Sanders-style bowtie. (We still think the line should be called “Kentucky Fried Clothing.”)
It’s not just fast food, though. Revered Italian pasta maker Pastificio di Martino has teamed up with Dolce & Gabbana to produce limited edition pasta tins to be sold with a D&G apron. An iconic jeweler is now hosting real live “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” in New York City, while Gucci has a fine dining restaurant in Shanghai and Pierre Hermé has a café at Christian Dior’s flagship store in Seoul.
The food-meets-retail trend spans from the low-cost, quick-trend millennial apparel outposts to the jewel-encrusted bastions of high fashion. The unexpected combination has so far proven to be a recipe for success, and despite its growing popularity, it’s still novel enough to work — at least for now.