How KFC’s using social media for a big-time make-good

Recipe: One free meal + a dollop of Oprah = an overwhelming response.

Recipe: One free meal + a dollop of Oprah = a staggering response

KFC underestimated the power of Oprah.

But by using its social media tools, the company is letting customers know they can still get the free grilled chicken they were promised on The Oprah Winfrey Show.

Oprah’s audience was introduced to the grilled chicken on May 5. During KFC’s promotion, viewers had 24 hours to print out the coupon on Oprah’s Web site or at a special KFC site for a meal that included chicken, two side items, and a biscuit.

Due to an overwhelming response, KFC couldn’t keep up with demand. With problems in downloading the coupon and lines wrapping around KFC restaurants for hours, customers were frustrated.

During the coupon offer, KFC assumed it would only need to double production of what they normally do on a given day—a major miscalculation. KFC had to stop accepting coupons, and it issued an apology.

“With the power of Oprah and the economy, we couldn’t keep up with the pace and the demand,” says spokeswoman Laurie Schalow. “It’s amazing to get such a response for a $3.99 chicken meal. It’s a sign of the times.”

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