The great chicken sandwich rush of 2019 dominated social media over the summer. People were in line for hours, eagerly waiting to get their hands on one of Popeyes’ chicken sandwiches. Employees barely had enough time to take breaks — all for the sake of a chicken sandwich. Popeye’s competitor, Kentucky Fried Chicken, recently released their answer to Popeyes sandwich: a dating simulation game. Although the game is an interesting marketing ploy, it doesn’t fix the problem that put their competitors on top, which is the food itself.
KFC’s dating simulation game “‘I Love You, Colonel Sanders!’ A Finger Lickin’ Good Dating Simulator” is nothing but an advertisement disguised as a video game. The game provides no new information to the player about the KFC menu or its recipes.
The game is centered around romancing KFC’s mascot, Colonel Sanders, because tasting his chicken recipe is framed as an earth-shattering, life-changing experience. In real life, if the restaurant’s chicken was that good they would have achieved Popeyes’ level of success. If they wanted to draw in customers they should have reinvented their recipes instead of spending resources creating a game. Reinventing and rebranding themselves could draw in new customers that come out of curiosity or loyalty. Keeping the recipe and the menu the same only taps into the loyal customer base; it doesn’t attract new ones.
The game served its purpose of creating a buzz about KFC. It’s been the source of discussion in many articles and several different YouTubers have played and reviewed the game. The absurdity of the game is what has piqued the interest of many people. The game is outside the box for KFC’s normal advertising format which makes it a little more interesting.
Even though “I Love You, Colonel Sanders!” is a little more interesting than their normal commercials, there is evidence that it has helped or hurt their sales. The game hasn’t been out long enough for it to affect the sales. It wasn’t an immediate surge like Popeyes had with their chicken sandwiches but only time will tell what the game does for KFC’s sales.
While this dating simulation game is a fun way to promote KFC, the company should focus more on improving their chicken to keep up with their competitors. What made Popeye’s so successful this summer was their delicious chicken sandwich. If KFC wanted to replicate the same success they should have followed in Popeyes’ footsteps. Either KFC needs to change what they are doing or come last in the chicken competition.