Initiative’s challenge was to help KFC Arabia stand out in a sea of other brands sponsoring Arab Idol. With its ear to the ground and real time reactions, it was able to do so for only the cost of a bucket of KFC and a bouquet of flowers!
That golden opportunity – The agency had done such a good job at inundating the Arab Idol studio with all things KFC, that a MAJOR craving hit one of the show’s most famous celebrity judges, Ahlam Al Shamsi, during a live telecast. With her mouth watering for KFC, the pop diva went on a full-minute tirade demanding KFC be delivered to her right then and there.
Shouting, “KINTACKY! KINTACKY! KINTACKY!” she joked if KFC didn’t meet her demands, her 2.8 million Twitter followers would hear about it.
The moment of truth had arrived. The unscripted outburst held all the ingredients to what drives online conversation in the region most: A big name celebrity, the highest rated TV programme on-air, and a touch of “OMG! Did that just happen?” It needed to react quickly to not only prove to Ahlam and her fan base that KFC Arabia was listening, but also to exploit the incident in KFC’s favour.
When celebrities go ‘off-script’ in the Middle East, the loose translation from Arabic to English is ‘scandal.’ And as with the rest of the world, ‘scandals’ almost always go viral. Ahlam’s ‘off-script’ rant was sure to go viral – it was Initiative’s job to ensure KFC was benefiting and taking a lead role in the conversation. The agency promptly formed a strategy to respond to the outburst and extend it for as long as possible.
The first priority was to sate Ahlam Al Shamsi’s craving. The agency knew that if it could win her over as an unofficial brand ambassador, it would win over her millions of admirers and social media followers. At the same time, it wanted to immediately get footage of the dramatic outburst in front of as many people as possible, so they would share and re-share the content with their friends and followers throughout the region. Finally, it wanted to create and deliver additional content showing KFC’s quick reaction to Ahlam’s demands and how the brand engaged with the celebrity pop icon.
Time was of the essence. Initiative had to react quickly...
The clock was ticking, and teams sprang into action. First, the agency called the closest KFC in Beirut, where Arab Idol is produced, and told them to deliver Ahlam and her crew buckets of KFC along with a bouquet of flowers. RIGHT NOW! Simultaneously, it posted video footage of the outburst to YouTube and tweeted the link out to Arab Idol followers. It was just too rich not to share – and share again.
Within the hour, Ahlam received her KFC delivery in her dressing room. The pleased pop icon posted pictures to Instagram, tweeting them out to her followers and thanking KFC, which of course was re-tweeted and shared on KFC’s own social feeds and the wider web community.
From the very first call to KFC Beirut, Initiative asked them to snap and send mobile photos of the entire response – from the buckets being readied in the kitchen, to the delivery of KFC to Ahlam’s dressing room. This all became content used to keep the social conversation alive and prove the extra lengths KFC goes to fill cravings.
But KFC wasn’t done yet. It continued to seed Ahlam content by contacting popular bloggers who wrote about the incident and tagged KFC where they could. A social media frenzy erupted with organic memes, mock videos, and jokes of the entire incident. One eager fan even produced a rap song that went viral based on the theme “KINTACKY! KINTACKY! KINTACKY!”
KFC Arabia’s quick response to Ahlam’s outburst paid off:
- It fuelled over 17 million views of Ahlam’s KFC outburst via YouTube, user generated posts, memes, and images in under 4 months – delivering an estimated $850,000 worth of free media exposure.
- Over 50,000 mentions of the KFC brand were tracked across all social and online media, measuring a peak of 8,000 tweets on the day of the Ahlam outburst. Online share of voice measured against the other primary sponsors of the show stood at a staggering 91%.
- Retail stores across the region saw a combined increase in footfall of 11% from the week before the Ahlam incident versus the week after. And customers jokingly requested the ‘Ahlam Meal.’
All of this was achieved at the cost of a bucket of KFC and a bouquet of flowers.