Jul 30, 2013

KFC 7-foot bucket earns woman free chicken

KFC 7-foot bucket earns woman free chicken
KFC 7-foot bucket earns woman free chicken. A 7-foot Kentucky Fried Chicken prop left on a front lawn puts Yum Brands' marketing machine to work.

So you wake up one morning and there's a 7-foot bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken on your front lawn. What's your first response?

Do you head to the nearest fraternity row and see if the brothers "forgot" something from last night's outing? Do you get out the stepladder and see if anyone left some Extra Crispy inside? Or do you just chalk it up to having a weird landlord, post it on Facebook (FB +6.20%), let the locals take pictures of it and basically take it all in stride?

That third response is the shortest route between you and some free chicken, as Aleena Headrick of Waynesboro, Ga., discovered after the giant bucket appeared in front of her house last Thursday. Now, according to The Huffington Post, the folks at KFC parent company Yum Brands (YUM -0.64%) are sending her some chicken for her trouble.

As it turns out, the giant bucket is an old Kentucky Fried Chicken store display that is 30 to 40 years old. Headrick's landlord, Freddie Taylor, collects old signs and just had this one brought to the property where Headrick lives. He was taken with the original Kentucky Fried Chicken script and illustration of Colonel Sanders, and plans to have the bucket mounted on a pole in front of the house. As Headrick told NBC affiliate WAGT 26, she's OK with it.

"It's unusual," she says, but it makes for easy directions to the house. "We can just say, 'come down to the giant KFC bucket and turn right.'"

After hearing Headrick's story, KFC opted to play along and throw her a free fried chicken picnic for her trouble.

"They’ve got the bucket, now they just need the chicken," KFC spokesman Rick Maynard said.

Yum Brands has a bit of a history of embracing quirky little local memes like this and turning them into marketing opportunities. Back in January, it granted a Taco Bell fan's request to make a customized Speedo swimsuit with "Think Outside The Buns" written across the seat. It airlifted 10,000 Doritos Locos tacos to a remote town in Alaska and had rapper Pitbull do a performance there after an Internet prank went awry. KFC's Twitter feed, meanwhile, reads as if it's written by an actual human being enjoying the job and not some buzzword-spewing automaton from the marketing department.

In this case, however, it seems like a bit of a hat tip to KFC's history at a time when the company has been keeping that history at arm's length. To reward someone for having an oversized bucket featuring the Colonel on their lawn runs contrary to Yum Brands' recent announcement that a new “upscale” KFC restaurant spinoff will do away with both the Colonel and the bones in its chicken. Colonel Sanders' days as KFC's mascot may be numbered, but he and his marketing cohorts are spreading as much Kentucky-fried love as they can in the meantime.