KFC joins console wars with gaming system that keeps chicken hot

Dive Brief:

  • KFC followed through on a teaser campaign to create a video game console that keeps chicken hot and ready to eat during gaming sessions. The KFConsole has a built-in “chicken chamber” and was developed with hardware manufacturer Cooler Master, according to an announcement.

  • Cooler Master provided technical specifications for the gaming PC on its website, which doesn’t have information on where to buy the device. KFC is asking people to stay updated on the availability of the KFConsole by following its KFC Gaming Twitter channel.

  • KFC first teased the KFConsole on June 11, going viral on Twitter. The KFC Gaming Twitter channel generated 11 million organic impressions worldwide with the announcement, but the brand now appears to be following through on delivering a product. 

Dive Insight:

When KFC first teased the KFConsole last summer, many assumed that the Yum Brands chain was joking about developing a gaming device with a built-in chamber to keep chicken hot. The social media stunt came as people spent more time playing video games while stuck indoors during the pandemic, and as Sony and Microsoft prepared to ramp up massive promotions for their first gaming consoles in seven years. But KFC generated loads of online buzz with the tease, and now seeks to build on that hype with the launch of an actual console created with Cooler Master — though details on how to buy one of the devices remain scant.

KFC is among the marketers that have sought to parlay the surging growth in gaming into their campaigns, particularly during the holiday season as shoppers scrambled to find the latest PlayStation and Xbox consoles. As the pandemic’s effect on the supply chain for electronic components created a shortage of consoles, Bud Light in November released the BL6, a gaming device shaped like a six-pack of beer and that came with two built-in koozies to keep beverages cold. The beer brand offered the hardware in an online auction, with the proceeds going to a charity to help restaurant workers displaced by the pandemic. Kraft Heinz’s Philadelphia Cream Cheese also launched a campaign for its Philly Series 5 kit, a mock version of the PlayStation 5 that it described as a “stunning advancement in cheesecake technology.”

KFC’s introduction of the KFConsole is another sign of how the restaurant chain has succeeded in generating publicity through off-beat marketing. Last month, KFC received widespread media attention with the premiere of a 15-minute movie produced in collaboration with Lifetime, the cable channel known for its melodramatic movies. “A Recipe For Seduction” starred Mario Lopez as KFC’s brand mascot Colonel Harland Sanders in a parody of a Lifetime Original Movie that focused on a steamy love affair and scheming family members — along with plentiful mentions of fried chicken.

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