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[Updated] #BehindtheCampaign: KFC’s Beyond the Sea leads to 25k donation to NSRI

Chilly Marion Island is the rugged setting for KFC’s integrated Beyond the Sea campaign.
Image supplied. Chilly Marion Island is the rugged setting for KFC’s integrated Beyond the Sea campaign
Image supplied. Chilly Marion Island is the rugged setting for KFC’s integrated Beyond the Sea campaign

Bizcommunity featured the campaign last week, which features researchers escaping from remote Marion Island to venture over 2,000km across rough seas in search of the nearest KFC.

Since then ham radio teasers were used as part of the campaign to spark nationwide intrigue. The transmissions were so convincing that the NSRI was alerted to the 'rescue, only to discover it was all part of the KFC's clever campaign.

However, KFC's playful banter with the NSRI led to a spontaneous 25k donation (communicated via morse code), proving that this campaign isn't just about taste—it's about making waves.

Inspired by South African scientist

Inspired by the South Africans who spend more than a year on remote Marion Island in service of science, the campaign asks the key question: “Just how far will people go for the taste of KFC?”

Marion Island, the tip of an undersea volcano 2,209km south-east of Cape Town, is one of South Africa’s farthest-flung territories. It’s the chilly base for teams of researchers who spend 13 months at a time there studying seabirds, seals, meteorology and space.

Going to extreme lengths

KFC’s campaign began with teasers – ham radio messages that suddenly interrupted FM radio shows across the country and featured the voice of Mzuli Ntuli reporting on his voyage from Marion Island to Cape Town in a dinghy.

In the launch phase of the campaign, it emerges that Ntuli and colleague, Samantha, undertook the voyage because they were missing the taste of KFC.

The campaign depicts them going to extreme lengths to reach the mainland.

“They are escorted by dolphins, battle seasickness and face incredibly rough seas,” says KFC Africa chief marketing officer, Grant Macpherson.

The culmination of the campaign is a cinematic masterpiece depicting life on Marion Island, video calls with friends enjoying KFC in South Africa and the moment the duo set sail – clutching a KFC shopping list from their fellow islanders.

Devotion honoured in a great story

Macpherson says most South Africans pining for KFC are unlikely to experience the same difficulties as the fictional Marion Island researchers.

“With 1,100 restaurants across the country, the irresistible taste of KFC is never far away,” he says.

“But we know that our customers will go to great lengths for our finger-lickin’ good food and we wanted to honour that devotion in a great story.

“When we discovered that there’s a part of South Africa where you can’t get the taste of KFC and that a group of people give up a year of their lives to live and work there, we realised we had the scenario for an epic adventure in the turbulent Atlantic Ocean.”

Opportunity to talk about their work

Macpherson says the initial unbranded component of the campaign allowed Marion Island scientists to talk about their work, which involves saving threatened and endangered species and studying climate change and even the origins of the universe.

“The gaming and activation phase of the campaign over the next two months will allow every KFC lover to get involved – with delicious prizes along the way and many engagement opportunities,” he says.

The campaign follows the successful introduction of KFC’s “unofficial taste inspector” and amplifies the message that people are willing to do just about anything for South Africa’s favourite taste.

Credits

Client: KFC

Grant Macpherson, CMO
Mukundi Munzhelele, senior marketing manager
Hloni Mohope, marketing director: brand

Agency: Ogilvy Johannesburg

Naledi Manama, art director
Abas Rashid, group head writer
Clayton Swartz, creative director
Chantelle Dos Santos, creative director
Kabelo Moshapalo, CCO
Peter Little, executive creative director
Debbie Dannheisser, head of production
Merushka Pillay, group account director
Alex Bailie, senior producer

Production house: 0307 Productions

Kim Geldenhuys, director
Jacqui Beek, executive producer
Mathieu Plainfosse, DOP

Post-production

Choc Tribe
Sterling Sound

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