— Compiled by Ananya Saha
KFC follows the ‘11 herbs and spices’ mantra, literally
It is A well known fact that KFC blends 11 secret herbs and spices to make the fried chicken ‘finger-lickin’ good’. But it came as a surprise when the Twitter handle of the company underwent a spring cleaning of sorts and reduced the number of accounts it followed online to only 11. These 11 include members of the former girl music band Spice Girls — @GeriHalliwell, @OfficialMelB, @EmmaBunton, @MelanieCmusic, @victoriabeckham, and six men named Herb (@HerbScribner, @HerbJWesson, @herbwaters6, @HerbDeanMMA, @HerbAlpert and @HerbSendek). The fact was brought to notice by (Mike) Edge (@edgette22) who tweeted: ‘@KFC follows 11 people. Those 11 people? 5 Spice Girls and 6 guys named Herb. 11 Herbs & Spices. I need time to process this.’ The tweet became viral in no time and took the Twitterverse by storm drawing attention to the ironic fact.
Conceived by Wieden+Kennedy, its creative director Freddie Powell was quoted as saying, “We planted this on Twitter over a month ago. Frankly, we weren’t sure if anybody was going to find it. Sometimes you just have to put stuff out into the universe and cross your fingers that the internet will work its magic.” Following Edge’s tweet, KFC endorsed him for his social networking on LinkedIn. “Weirdest part of this whole thing is the @kfc Colonel adding me to @LinkedIn and endorsing me for social networking. Didn’t see that coming,” wrote Edge.
In a statement, Bentley McBentleson, digital marketing manager, KFC US, said, “Our vault was getting cleaned so I thought the best place to keep the secret recipe was on Twitter. No one’s going to look at who we are following, I thought. Boy was I wrong. I have made a huge mistake.”
KFC is upping its digital game slowly and steadily. In fact, Yum’s 2016 financial report mentioned: ‘KFC with “Always Original” has returned to the basics with clear value at memorable price points and innovation close to the core. ..we did not change the form of our product — only the flavour profile, and our customers love it. Going forward KFC will continue this focus on the basics, coupled with a big push on the digital front and delivery.’
Ad spends rise on Snapchat and Instagram
It seems THAT monetising issues are things of the past for social media, if new stats from data marketing firm 4C Insights are to be believed. According to its new report, advertising spend on Snapchat rose by 73% in Q3 2017, while Instagram saw about 55% increase in the third quarter. New features on Snapchat such as 3D World Lenses, which have demonstrated measurable lifts across awareness and intent, will continue to draw brands to the platform, says the report.
The ad spends were also driven by strong swipe-up rates, efficient CPMs and brands discovering how to utilise Snap Ads. The telecommunications sector increased its spend on Snapchat the most in Q3 — up 2,965% quarter-on-quarter while achieving swipe-up rates over 1%. Daily active users (DAUs) grew from 143 million in Q2 2016, to 173 million in Q2 2017, an increase of 30.5 million or 21% year-over-year; while DAUs increased 7.3 million or 4% quarter-over-quarter, from 166 million in Q1 2017, according to Snap Inc’s financial results for the quarter ending June 30, 2017. “I see social ads working cross functionally across several platforms. One of the biggest issues for clients creating assets are the different social platforms and ad units they have to customise their specs to,” said Louis Guerrero, supervisor, social media, Havas.
Other social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc also witnessed an increase of 31% on an average in paid media spends during the quarter. Features for measuring brand lift across Facebook and TV, driving offline outcomes, placing in-stream video ads across Facebook’s Audience Network, and Facebook’s detailed targeting and measurement capabilities helped brands to invest in the platform. Though LinkedIn’s inventory is most expensive, marketers believe the inventory ensures the highest brand safety. The report states that advertisers from automotive, finance and healthcare are investing in LinkedIn, which drove the growth in spend.
Ad spends on Pinterest, the intent-driven platform, grew by 26% q-o-q and 33% y-o-y as marketers headed into the seasonal shopping season. New advertisers are being drawn to the platform including brands from the electronics and technology vertical as Apple and Samsung announced new technologies in Q3. Ad spend on Twitter was boosted by the travel and services industries — travel spend on Twitter surged 250% q-o-q during the late summer months. Meanwhile, immersive video on Instagram Stories continued to draw in brands.
Google banks on hardware
After putting all efforts on bolstering and revamping its software products, Google is now focussing on AI-powered hardware from its stable. The search giant recently launched Google Pixel Buds, Google Home Max and other smart speakers as well as the Google PixelBook while unveiling Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL smartphones in San Francisco. The aim of the search giant is to mix hardware, software and its own artificial intelligence across products to offer a new experience for users. For instance, Google Pixel Buds, wireless earphones, pairs with Google Assistant and comes with real-time Google translate; Google PixelBook comes with built-in AI. Google Home Mini is the newest addition to the Google Home family.
About the size of a doughnut, it has all the smarts of the Google Assistant and boasts of giving a hands-free help in any room of your house. “A year ago, Sundar (Pichai, CEO, Google) outlined his vision of how AI would change how people would use computers. And in fact, AI is already transforming what Google’s products can do in the real world,” said Rick Osterloh, SVP, hardware at Google. Osterloh, the former president of Motorola, further added that Google has designed and built its latest hardware products around a few core tenets.
“First and foremost, we want them to be radically helpful. They are fast, they are there when you need them, and they are simple to use. Second, everything is designed for you, so that the technology doesn’t get in they way and instead blends into your lifestyle. Lastly, by creating hardware with AI at the core, our products can improve over time,” he said. He said that these hardware products are constantly getting better and faster through automatic software updates.
When broadband majors let down UK consumers
Sky, TalkTalk, BT, Vodafone and Virgin figure in the worst broadband providers in the UK. Which?’s recent survey that gathered feedback from 1,700 UK customers between June and July this year, found that 53% of households with Virgin Media, TalkTalk, Sky and BT connections had difficulties with their broadband; and cited slow speed, dodgy connections and increase in fares as problem areas. About 38% of Virgin customers were wary of price increase, while ‘very slow’ broadband bothered 33% of TalkTalk subscribers and 22% of BT customers. While one in five customers listed problems with the broadband speed, 17% faced frequent connection dropouts, 12% listed problems with their wireless router and 8% did not have any connection for hours or days at a time.
Alex Neill, managing director of home products and services for Which? said, “Far too many people get a poor deal from their broadband provider, with problems ranging from very slow speeds to going days without any connection at all, which just isn’t good enough.” He further highlighted that the UK regulator must now deliver on its plans to improve the information that customers get about speeds when they sign up to a provider and allow them to easily exit a contract if they are not getting what they have been promised.
Zen and Utility Warehouse scored 85% and 76% respectively, when it came to customer satisfaction with broadband connection. TalkTalk scored a dismal 40% while Sky and BT registered 45% and 46% respectively. Vodafone got 49% votes. Which?’s previous survey that was released in April, 2017 had made similar revelations, wherein TalkTalk (38%) and BT (45%) received the worst customer satisfaction scores in a survey of 12 broadband providers, followed by Sky (48%) that surveyed 1,800 people. In the previous study also, Zen Internet registered the highest customer rating of 86%, followed by Utility Warehouse (81%), John Lewis Broadband (68%), SSE (66%) and Plusnet (65%).
Burger King’s Bullying Jr
A new three-minute video titled Bullying Jr from Burger King for National Bullying Prevention Month features a social experiment filmed in a Los Angeles outlet. The hidden camera captures Whopper Jr and a high-school kid (junior) being bullied inside its outlet. The film shows how patrons responded to a high school junior being bullied by his peers and a Whopper Jr (battered burger being served to customers).
The findings were astounding: 95% of customers reported the bullied Whopper Jr while 12% of customers stood up to the high school junior being bullied. The spot ends with, “No Jr deserves to be bullied,” and calls for action by logging onto the NoBully portal. The spot from David Miami effectively integrates the product while addressing the social issue.