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Marketing South Africa

Ogilvy and KFC break history with it’s secret recipe

To prove the strength of KFC’s iconic 11 herbs and spices, Ogilvy and KFC South Africa created the ultimate taste test, which has now gone global. This first-of-its-kind interactive activation allowed KFC's fans to experience the KFC taste in wildly unexpected ways. It was a real-world, in-store taste demonstration, powered by audience ideas, nationwide.
KFC celebrates its iconic taste and South African cuisine.
KFC celebrates its iconic taste and South African cuisine.

This creative experiential activation not only highlighted the versatility of KFC’s iconic flavour but also reinforced its dominance in a competitive market. It engaged fans in a unique, memorable way and generated significant media buzz.

“We’ve been amazed by the reaction of the public to our MakeItKFC taste test. We reached over 50 million people with something they obviously really wanted to see and taste!” said Kabelo Moshapalo, chief creative officer for Ogilvy South Africa, in Johannesburg.

"Over the years, we've had some interesting requests from customers looking to add flavour to their favourite South African food," explained Mukundi Munzhelele, KFC South Africa's Senior Marketing Manager. "This made us wonder what other dishes people wanted to improve with our famous secret recipe.” As a result, this year in February, KFC South Africa broke all the traditions of KFC history by opening its doors, both online and in-store, for a real-world, experiential taste demonstration dubbed ‘Make it KFC’.

Prior to this, through a series of social media polls, the brand invited its audience across the country to send their suggestions for unique food items they'd love to make a little more KFC. The food ranged from household staples like brussels sprouts and grapes, to sweet indulgences like birthday cake. Fan favorites also included some classic South African delicacies such as biltong, mopani worms, and milk tart.

Once customers arrived in store and ordered their favorites, they were surprised not only by the great tasting results but also by bespoke packaging for the different items—packaging as unique as the contents inside!

Custom boxes were designed to fit different food types, from pineapples to pies, each containing the phrase "I used to be a ...". KFC staff filled in the blanks manually, depending on the items members of the public brought to the store, transforming ordinary items like pizza or sushi into KFC treats.

Packaging as unique as the taste.
Packaging as unique as the taste.

Moreover, this experimental platform enabled KFC to tangibly demonstrate its flavour and drive brand obsession in a memorable way, while creating buzz about the power of their secret recipe. “When we launched this first-of-its-kind taste test, we were amazed by the positive reactions. The overwhelming response has helped us stay the number one brand of choice,” says Munzhelele.

After driving unprecedented levels of talkability with the campaign, the iconic fried chicken chain has returned to its classic menu. In the meantime, the daring flavour fusions have left an unforgettable impression on consumers nationwide, helping the brand stand out in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

Pete Case, Ogilvy South Africa CEO and creative chairman, added, “It’s wonderful to see that our idea has already gone global, with our Ogilvy team in Sydney launching their version of the platform for KFC Australia this month. While the idea was always intended to see South African food favorites given the KFC flavour treatment, it seems that other countries are also wanting to showcase the power of the secret recipe on their local favourites too!”

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