The Most Followed Accounts on Twitter
By Josh BoydJan 9
Social Listening Platforms, Q4 2020
Published March 6th 2018
When KFC ran out of chicken in the UK recently, the reaction was unforgiving in its volume and its hilarity at the expense of the famous chain.
The Brandwatch React team gathered mentions surrounding the the lack of chicken to see how the apparent “crisis” would be perceived by KFC fans and how a response from them might go down.
We found people complaining about the KFC chicken crisis as early as Valentines Day.
In KFC and they've ran out of chicken. ??
— Justin (@JustCld) February 14, 2018
The February 15 also saw a handful of complaints, but this initial reaction to the lack of chicken was then stretched and escalated over several days as people continued to complain and laugh about how chicken was still unavailable.
The full scale realization of the problem didn’t peak until February 21, the very pinnacle of the social media storm. It’ll be in KFC community manager’s anniversary books for years to come.
The story was hitting full speed on Reddit, with 10,000 upvotes on a post about this highly dramatic news segment in which it is reported that police are asking people to stop calling to report the missing chicken.
At this point, KFC’s UK closures were being discussed around the world.
Mentions dropped off significantly on the February 22, indicating that the publicity surrounding the chicken shortage was dropping, but there was another bump on Friday 23rd February.
The reason? KFC responded with an amusing newspaper ad that apologized for the problems.
This is how KFC apologized for running out of chicken across the UK. Brilliant work. pic.twitter.com/owYjQIVK8I
— Bryan Jones (@bdkjones) February 23, 2018
The ad, created by Mother, acknowledged the humor around the situation but also provided a sincere apology and explained that work was being done to remedy the problems.
This was the first time that positive-categorized mentions saw spikes amid the largely negative chicken shortage conversation.
As we’ve found before, the wrong response to a negative story circulating about your brand can go terribly wrong.
Instead of trying to sweep issues under the carpet, the problems were considered, acknowledged and taken responsibility for in the form of a statement that was invested in (not just hurriedly tweeted). This prolonged publicity surrounding the event, but it did so in a way that reflected them much better.