2019’s Creative Campaigns #9 – KFC’s GRAVY Candle

KFC aren’t strangers to a great creative comms campaign. Who can remember their great public apology when they infamously ran out of chicken? (How a chicken restaurant runs out chicken, I’ll never know – but it did).

So simple yet so effective, KFC’s recovery campaign was one for the ages and was, wait – still is, appreciated by PRs and the public worldwide.

The ad was released only ONCE to two national newspapers, but somehow ended up appearing in tonnes of publications thereafter. Spreading their apology across the country and sporting their good humour about it. 

In fact, (here’s me getting off the point before I’ve even begun to make it), if you ever want to know the value of PR, or moreover the power of a great campaign. Well, I found this great little review on Campaigns US who summed it up very nicely.


Anyway, I digress. I think we’ve already established that the team at KFC (Mother) are a PR powerhouse. But did they stop at their globally-appreciated campaign? Did they ever. Just a few days ago, their latest was announced. And just like that, their brilliantly creative comms is back with a bang.

You can now win a KFC gravy candle, and yep – you actually can

KFC and its comms agency, Mother has created a very real, limited edition scented candle for the true gravy enthusiast, and it will soon be available on a first come, first serve winner basis.

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And an element of competition always ups the ante too, right?

A select number of winners can land themselves one of only 230 candles by entering a contest on the dedicated website. The infused candle is being released in conjunction with the chain’s Gravy Mega Box and the KFChill experience. Which is described as “an ASMR-esque hub that allows you to relax to the calming sounds of chicken frying, tumbling fries and, of course, simmering gravy.” Which – dare I move away from the point again – is yet another ingenious PR campaign by KFC and Mother.

I’m all for capitalising on a great product, and it’s well-known that KFC gravy is a national favourite. However, for me personally, fragrancing a candle with its scent? That’s where I’d draw the line. You’d have thought that surely nobody would want their home to smell… meaty 24 hours a day, but you’d be wrong. In fact, since the news broke out that KFC would be releasing their famed, questionable candle, opinions have been very much in its favour.

Including commendations from celebrities, brands, and the lovely (if not slightly inane) general public.

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Personal opinions aside (because while I appreciate the sentiment, I definitely don’t think I’d find much use for a gravy scent in my own home, unless it’s dinner time of course) there’s no denying that as far as PR campaigns go, this is yet another prolific example.

Comms? It’s all gravy

KFC and Mother honestly make PR look like a walk in the park. Effortlessly executing one stunning campaign after another, it demonstrates just how extraordinary their team are.

Despite what an onlooker may believe, media relations isn’t easy at all. And though evidencing faultless delivery time and time again, there would’ve been a great deal of work inputted into this project to make it truly great. Tying in with the wider ‘KFChill experience’, yet still working spectacularly as a standalone campaign – KFC’s ‘gravy candle’ ticks every single box.

Why? Well, there’s a number of reasons.

Firstly, it’s creative. The clue’s in the name of this blog – I’ll only talk about efforts that are really unique and different – but nevertheless, this one goes above and beyond. As I mentioned earlier, they know their gravy is a big seller – and the way in which the team has crafted this into a product that many are clawing to get at examples truly great PR from innovative thinking. Granted, it’s a little whimsical and we know that KFC aren’t about to mass produce these and start stocking them in homeware stores. Nevertheless, the idea is nutty enough to generate attention whilst still being relatable enough to work.

Secondly, the elements of this campaign really polish it off. Turning it into a competition, for example – instead of making it a product you can purchase in restaurants. The ‘for a limited time only’ element makes the campaign all the more exciting and encourages you to get involved.

Thirdly, though not evergreen per-se, this is the kind of campaign that’ll stick around. Initial reactions have been sparked and coverage has been attained, yes. But what about when winners are announced and gifted their candles? It’ll be all over the press again. And, seeing as this is one small part in a larger campaign, this repeated attention will work wonders for them.

(Also, while we’re on the winners. I could get really deep and psychological here. Won’t having a KFC gravy infused candle just want to make them visit the restaurant all the while? Nobody may have thought this deeply into it (and evidently, I have far too much time on my hands), but surely the product itself will be enough to drive additional customers and profits, without all the extra generated from the media relations?.

230 candles means 230 winners. Which – if said winners have a collective average household of around 4 people – will reach 920 with its alluring scent. That means there’s a chance of 920 additional customers every time someone ignites the wick, clever).

Just if you were wondering what I looked like while working out that sum… 

And fourth-ly, as always – their social media relations have been intensely on point to see this one through. From the original announcement to their witty replies to keen-os and naysayers all the same. A great social strategy can help support a PR campaign and, in some cases (such as KFC’s) help boost it to the next level.

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All in all, as are all their others, this is truly everything an excellent PR campaign should be. It covers all technicalities and is creative enough to make it fly.

What do you think of the campaign? And, better yet, will you be entering the competition for a candle?

P.s. – Thank You!

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I’m not quite done yet either. I’m in a small but brilliant pool of talented and creative writers, and I too often feel as though I don’t belong here. Therefore, to be in amongst the finalists for the UK blog awards for best PR, Marketing and Comms blog means so much to me… Beyond words.

It’s amazing in fact.

Therefore, I just wanted to say a big… No, a MASSIVE thank you to everyone who voted for me in the awards. If it wasn’t for the people who read my blog and support me every day, I almost certainly wouldn’t bother. So for that, endless gratitude is in order.

Thank you.

While you’re here, please subscribe to my blog by heading back to my homepage and entering your email on the right-hand side of the page.

PR and lifestyle blogger jessica pardoe

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