KFC rewards Australians with free snacks for launching Popcorn Chicken into the Colonel’s mouth in the mobile game Snack! in the Face.

The Colonel’s Dilemma.

KFC wasn’t known as a snacking destination amongst teens. If we wanted to get this segment of KFC’s business firing, we needed to get on the radar with Gen Y to drive awareness and trial of the snack range.

To unlock this opportunity, we identified a simple insight; snacking isn’t only sparked by hunger, but by excruciating boredom.

On top of this, standing in the way of the snacking business was the kitchen cupboard, the vending machine, the convenience store — and a digital only media spend.

The challenge was clear: how do we excite and motivate 15-24 YO Australians to visit KFC to satisfy their snacking pang, whilst also proving that we can impact the business' bottom line using only digital?

The Sanders Solution.

The Colonel hit Australia with a Snack! in the Face; entertainment you could literally snack on.

What’s that you ask? Well, it’s a mobile game that encourages people to channel their boredom, impulses and habits into achieving real KFC snack rewards.

Rather than receiving the usual digital thumbs up for spending minutes, hours, days, weeks or even years playing games, we converged the digital and analogue worlds, allowing people to convert their gaming skills into pure Kentucky Fried Chicken.

The concept was developed to capture the attention of this audience in a way that would ultimately increase awareness of KFC's snack menu and drive sales.

What better way to arouse interest in young Australians than via a mobile game, which combines lasers, evil characters and, of course, The Colonel and at the same time satisfy their love of KFC.

When Snacks Fly.

The game requires players to help Popcorn Chicken characters escape the clutches of the evil Professor Snackbot by propelling them through multiple lairs, avoiding obstacles and landing them into the safety of the Colonel’s mouth. (Wait, did I just say safety?)

With a very limited advertising budget, we needed to create an enjoyable, shareable app or we’d be lost in a dense jungle of mobile games.

To successfully steer ourselves through the game’s development, we penciled a list of elements to achieve this; memorable design, short burst gameplay, cutesy graphics, amusing sound effects (fart noises!), irreverent storyline, intuitive interactivity and positive reinforcement.

These became the game’s hooks, enhancing the game’s talkability, creating an unrivalled experience.

The App’s Secret Herbs and Spices.

With fun gameplay a must, we strolled the path of a physics based engine to ensure the game was spontaneous and surprised the player at every turn, linking back to the game’s insight.

The free flowing nature of the game also allowed for endless replayability with infinite ways to play.

Having one way to pass a level is boring, we wanted people to be as unorthodox as they liked. It permitted cheeky players to break the rules, like knocking down the lasers instead of turning off the switches.

We chose to construct the app using the Adobe AIR Platform, which allowed us to create both iOS and Android versions of the app from a single code base. AIR gave us the opportunity to use the powerful open source Citrus Game Engine and Box2D to power Professor Snackbot’s frightening lab.

Furthermore, Adobe Gaming SDK’s Starling and Feathers frameworks were enabled so we could build the user interface and optimise the graphic’s performance.

Winner, Winner Chicken Dinner.

Positive reinforcement was the name of the game. As a player progresses through the various levels, different achievements and daily snack challenges can be completed for the chance to win free KFC snacks.

The snacks won in game were stored in a prize wallet called ‘My Snacks,’ essentially a coupon platform that players could display their phone at KFC stores to easily redeem their free snacks. Awareness, engagement and conversion in one app.

The food rewards were also used to generate organic downloads and plays via a unique gifting mechanic using Facebook Connect, allowing users to share unredeemed prizes with their friends, thus spreading the KFC Snack! in the Face app through their networks.

New High Score.

The results were un-snacking-believable. In eight weeks, we acquired over 335,000 downloads to quickly become the number 1 app on the App Store and Google Play.

As for driving conversions in store, over 147,000 snacks were redeemed, raising KFCs snack sales by 21%.

People aren’t just playing once either with total engagement time surpassing 9.7 million minutes. They’re a generous bunch too, with more than 23,000 snacks gifted to friends.

Colonel Sanders was once again at the top of the snacking food chain.

About the Author.

Lee Spencer-Michaelson, Copywriter for DT & Ogilvy Australia



Game trailer

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