Is honesty the best policy?

A chicken restaurant without any chicken? You can’t make that up.
KFC marketing FCK. Is honesty the best policy?

When KFC ran out of chicken in 2018 they were staring at a PR crisis and huge potential damage to brand reputation.

A chicken restaurant without any chicken? You can’t make that up.

Their response was remarkably successful.

Just three letters.


Followed by a simple message.

We’re sorry.

The ads, printed just once in just two national newspapers achieved incredible statistics.

The apology was shared to over 200 million people through social media.

And reached nearly 800 million people with editorial coverage.

The apology was well received because it was open, transparent and sincere.

It was honest.

Not just in its acceptance that they’d made a huge mistake and inconvenienced their customers. But also in its authenticity.

It was on brand.

KFC had never taken itself too seriously. And here the brand was happy to poke fun at itself.

Behind the scenes, all hell was breaking loose. But KFC came across as calm, in control and caring about those affected.

And brand reputation? Unaffected. Or even enhanced.

In an overcommunicated society, authenticity stands out. It engenders trust.

Just like interesting people, they have opinions. They have something to say.

They get off the fence. They’re human.

So what about your brand?

Is it authentic? Is it honest? Does it resonate?