KFC Is Sending Chicken Into Space

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KFC is cooking up an ad campaign to introduce a chicken burger to the U.S. after it’s already been in 120 other countries and around since 1984. How do you make something sound new after that many times around the block? Why, an outrageous marketing campaign, of course.

It’s not outrageous in the sense of the McDonald’s ad that played on the death of a parent or the Kendall Jenner Pepsi ad that reduced the Black Lives Matter movement and police violence to a can of soda and a party. Thank heavens.

This is outrageous in a creative attempt to introduce a food product and not have anyone spend too much time asking, “If it’s so good, why are we last?” KFC, one of Yum Brands’ companies, plans to launch that chicken sandwich, called the Zinger, into space.

Well, technically not space. More like the stratosphere, which is near space, not outer space. Still, that will be about 19 miles straight up in a “robotic bucket satellite” after an hour-and-a-half ride up tethered to a high altitude balloon. Or, as the company says, “What more do you want from us?”

The plan is to have the burger up there in the satellite for four days while being filmed by five 4K cameras. But even with temperatures of -80 °F and near-vacuum conditions, the results wouldn’t necessarily be pretty, and why spend tons of money if you’re not going to look good? So the buns and chicken filet get covered with polyurethane and the lettuce with some kind of treatment “to help preserve the aesthetic of the Zinger.”

The agency responsible for the campaign is Wieden + Kennedy, according to The New York Times’ report. Apparently, the company that makes the balloons and which will arrange for the launch collectively broke out laughing before agreeing to take part.

The theme of the campaign is a takeoff on the 1960s, when John Kennedy announced that the U.S. would reach the moon. This launch will be a little shy of that target. Still, with luck, the buzz the company and its agency can create around the launch and coverage will distract people from recognizing that it’s all a celebration of a bit of fast food that is more than 30 years old.

I hope someone’s remembering the fries with that.

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