Bronze Spike

Case Film

Presentation Image

Product / ServiceKFC APP
CategoryC07. Customer Acquisition & Retention


Name Company Position
Dan Adijans Ogilvy Australia Technical Director
Emilie Ammann Ogilvy Australia Senior Digital Account Manager
Olajoke Amosun KFC Brand Manager
Leigh Bignell Ogilvy Australia Executive Business Director
Shaun Branagan Ogilvy Australia Group Creative Director
Phee Chong Chris KFC Customer Technology Manager
James Curtis Ogilvy PR Senior Account Director
Tom Fogarty Ogilvy PR Account Executive
Mike Forster KFC Digital Marketing Director
John Harding-Eason Ogilvy PR Senior Digital Strategist
Steven Jin KFC Brand Manager
Wilson Kwong Ogilvy Australia Copywriter
Stephen Maher Ogilvy PR Senior Creative
Sophie McIntosh Ogilvy PR Senior Account Manager
Gavin McLeod Ogilvy Australia Executive Creative Director
Nathan Moraza Ogilvy Australia Senior Copywriter
Gareth Morgan Ogilvy Australia Digital Project Director
Ash Myburgh Ogilvy Australia Art Director
Ryan O'Connell Ogilvy Australia Head of Strategy
Jonathan Pedreira Ogilvy Australia Senior Digital Project Manager
Cassie Poiner Ogilvy Australia Group Account Director
Mireille Pons Ogilvy Australia Senior Account Director
Jordana Smith Ogilvy Australia Senior Account Manager
Kristi Woolrych KFC Chief Marketing Officer
Taylor York Ogilvy PR Senior Account Manager

Why is this work relevant for Brand Experience & Activation?

Conventional wisdom dictates that the customer journey and experience should be as frictionless as possible. But we did the complete opposite by hiding a hard-to-find Secret Menu deep within the KFC App, featuring crazy, never-before-seen creations invented by KFC crew members. Then we told no one about it. This silence led to incredible earned media coverage, an astounding amount of KFC App downloads, and most importantly, sales.


To secure the stability of its customer base and future growth, KFC needed to drive up acquisitions and usage for its own app. There is an established formula used by QSRs to recruit app users: bribe them with a big value deal. Yet we quickly realised the ‘success’ of this strategy was not what it seemed. While acquisition campaigns that feature a ‘carrot’ (e.g. free food) are initially effective, they are also costly to run, and encourage ‘gaming’ behaviour (ie: claiming freebies on the app, then deleting it.) As everyone uses this playbook, it invariably leads to a ‘race to the bottom’. This isn’t just expensive, it’s ineffective. Just 23% of all users keep an app within the first three days after download, meaning most app acquisition campaigns never generate a positive ROI. Our challenge was to get consumers to download the KFC App, without falling into this trap.

Describe the creative idea (20% of vote)

Instead of making the app customer journey more frictionless, we went against every UX principle and chose to make it harder. We hid a Secret Menu deep within the KFC App, featuring never-before-seen creations invented by KFC crew members. Then we told no one about it. Instead of launching with a big campaign, we waited for people to discover it on their own. Making it hard to access actually made people more obsessed with finding and sharing it. When someone discovers the secret menu, they’re motivated to share it on social media, bringing new users into the journey. Thus, creating a self-sustaining, evergreen acquisition platform for the KFC App – all for $0 media budget. Additionally, but crucially, we gave people a reason to keep coming back by regularly launching new Secret Menu products without warning, to maintain interest and get people in the habit of checking the KFC App.

Describe the strategy (20% of vote)

KFC targets anyone who eats food, meaning every demographic. For this campaign, we needed to acquire new app users and re-engage existing and lapsed users – without resorting to expensive ad campaigns or discounts. Behavioural psychology dictates that withholding information from people just makes them more obsessed with obtaining it. It’s known as the ‘Streisand Effect’, named after Barbra Streisand who famously attempted to suppress photos of her residence for privacy reasons, but inadvertently drew more public attention to it. So to achieve our objectives, we decided to do something radical. We shied away from costly freebies, and towards the magnetism of offers that were completely unknown and hard to access. Despite conventional wisdom, we knew that adding friction to the ordering process would actually motivate our customers to care more about the app, not less. Allowing us to take advantage of their engagement to promote the app for us.

Describe the execution (30% of vote)

At first glance, our app update in March 2019 looked perfectly ordinary. But eagle-eyed users would have spotted a new Colonel Sanders icon hiding in the menu. If they pulled down and held the screen for 11 seconds, he would reveal the Secret Menu (cheeky reference to KFC’s 11 herbs and spices). Then, we had to resist every instinct to tell everyone about it. Instead, we just waited - spending $0 on media promoting the app. It all paid off when an excited customer finally cracked it one month later, and shared their discovery in a Facebook group. The news spread like wildfire, resulting in mass coverage across some of Australia’s biggest online news outlets. We then regularly updated the Secret Menu without warning, reigniting the conversation and keeping the KFC App on newsfeeds and front pages everywhere. This strategy helped attract new users and re-engage existing users all year.

List the results (30% of vote)

Our ambition was to create a newsworthy conversation about the KFC App. Then, for that conversation to lead to downloads and app usage. And ultimately, for the KFC App to stay on customers’ phones. And . . . · We achieved 473 pieces of coverage and 460+ million impressions without any paid media – with more generated organically every time we update the menu. · We increased average daily KFC App downloads during the campaign period by 14%, and on the day the Secret Menu story broke, the daily download rate increased by 111%.


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