To support its new “grown-up” menu item, Original Recipe Bites, KFC is launching an online branded-entertainment series called “Growing Up and Getting Out” and a concurrent social-media contest aimed at Millennials.
Comedy Central and KFC produced the online webisodes that tell the story of Michael, a recent college graduate who cannot find a job and must move into his parents’ basement. KFC is inviting young consumers in a similar situation — the brand estimated one in four Millennials has moved back in with their parents — to upload a photo and a description of their funniest moments moving back home to its Free Rent Contest website for the chance to win rent for a year.
Comedy Central producers will pick five winners to receive $12,500 to pay 12 months of rent and still throw a moving-out party, plus $600 in KFC gift certificates. Users can share their submissions on Facebook and Twitter and encourage friends to vote on their stories.
The "Growing Up and Getting Out" webisodes feature comedians Michael Palascak, David Koechner and Mo Collins.
Koechner also stars in the online series “Always Open,” a branded-entertainment talk show produced by CollegeHumor.com and the Denny’s family-dining chain.
Several other chains, including Chipotle Mexican Grill and Subway, have used a similar marketing tactic in recent campaigns.
Chipotle’s “Back to the Start” video features Willie Nelson covering Coldplay’s song “The Scientist” while an animated vignette advocates for the fast-casual chain’s “Food With Integrity” philosophy. It ran during the 2012 Grammys broadcast after receiving millions of views the year before on YouTube. The spot won the first-ever Grand Prix for the newly created category of Branded Content and Entertainment at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity this year.
Subway also supported branded-entertainment efforts with its Subway Emerging Artists program the past several years at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas. The sandwich chain teamed up with online-content platform My Damn Channel to present and serialize several web series from student filmmakers.
KFC’s "Growing Up and Getting Out" series and contest play off the chain’s first commercial for its Original Recipe Bites, which the brand describes as a nugget “all grown up.” The protagonist of that commercial is a jobless kid who lives with his parents.
Four more webisodes will debut each Monday over the next four weeks. Comedy Central will choose the winners of the Free Rent Contest on Aug. 20.
Louisville, Ky.-based KFC has more than 4,700 restaurants in the United States and is a subsidiary of Yum! Brands Inc.