On the speaker, there was a passive aggressive sign that said something to the fact that people who have the Oprah coupon would have to come inside to redeem it.
Though I was, as I previously said, on a mission for d-list Mexican food, I inquired about this fascinating evolution of an attempt at public relations which, as I discovered, was pure marketing genius.
According to this location's manager, "there were 15,000 downloads of the Oprah/KFC coupon but over 30,000 people had presented a coupon for free chicken."
She furthered, "people didn't read the fine print and copied the coupon anyway."
Mind you, it was well apparent that she was regurgitating what at least one supervisor above her had said; rounded to the nearest thousand approximate numbers and all.
The reason she cited for the sudden change in manner of redemption (coupon for free chicken became walk inside and apply for a voucher to be mailed) was because "people were copying the coupons."
Here's the most fascinating thing, however:
Being a somewhat inquisitive tech savvy person with considerable web development experience and simultaneous access to a handful of networks, I casually discovered the Oprah offer virally and called up a coupon for myself because, hey, I like free as much as anyone else.
I noticed, however, that there was zero authentication for the request and a ridiculously generic numeric and identification mark set used to differentiate any given coupon individually.
With this in mind, I remoted to two other completely different computers on two other completely different networks and I requested the exact same coupon as if I had been an otherwise hapless visitor who discovered the link and wanted my free chicken from that system as well.
Guess what... each of the coupons were the exact same.
So, here is the evident marketing genius scenario:
1. Team up with someone with tremendous reach (i.e. Oprah).
2. Proclaim a completely absurd offer (i.e. Free chicken).
3. Rig the offer where otherwise honest people appear to be abusing it and then, subsequently, switch the offer into an opportunity for up sells (i.e. bring them inside and/or delay their free chicken when they are already hungry) or, even more mildly nefarious, turn it into a lead generation opportunity (collecting personal information so people can receive their coupon).
Publicity stunt? Accomplished...
...at the cost of, maybe, 30,000 $4 (retail) meals worth of whatever plus Oprah's cut.
Congratulations America, you've just been baited (with chicken no less) and switched.