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Tempting And Tempestuous: Oprah, Free Chicken Offer

  • Ad Age, Thursday, May 7, 2009 11 AM
"The combination of free food and Oprah is a tsunami," says crisis expert Robbie Vorhaus after KFC found both its Web site and stores under siege by customers responding to a free-coupon offer on for its new grilled chicken product touted by the TV host. The site was overwhelmed by downloads, and bloggers report that some stores were turning coupon holders away, Emily Bryson York writes.

The coupons announced on Oprah's show were good for two pieces of chicken, two sides and a biscuit, but they had to be downloaded before Wednesday. They can be redeemed anytime before May 19 except Mother's Day. Word spread in the real world and on Twitter, leading to the long lines and, according to Gawker reports, angry customers.

"People will remember that the chicken was so popular, Oprah endorsed it, and there was a free giveaway," says Gene Grabowski of Levick Strategic Communications. "In the long haul, this isn't even as close to being as damaging as a crisis with cleanliness or contamination found in the food."



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