Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Finger Lickin' Good

As fast food companies look to rebrand and retrain themselves to market towards the 25-35 age range, that now make up a chunk of the spending power, KFC has released a flash game: Colonel Quest.

It involves face-punching and saving babies. 

Well. Okay then. 

The retro-inspired games takes you though the life of Colonel Sanders, the imaginary figurehead of KFC. Spokespeople for the fried chicken company state that it's based on real events. Or as real as an imaginary person can be. In one level, you have to save falling babies by bouncing them on a trampoline, apparently an homage to when the Colonel was an amateur obstetrician. In another level, the Colonel is a lawyer, trying to defend himself and must punch plaintiffs in the face to get drumsticks and prove his innocence. Because punching people in a courtroom is exactly how you prove you didn't do it.

The appeal to gamers isn't new. Denny's attempted this last year by partnering with Atari to bring a series of their classic arcade games to the diner's mobile app. Play the games while you're waiting on your double order of eggs.

McDonald's has been spot testing ideas: building your own burger (a favorite of Whataburger fans), McBrunch, Kiosk-style ordering, and the like. None of them have gone full scale, but at least they're trying.

But are these attempts working or are the customers seeing right through the ploy and ignoring the change? The app promotion with Denny's died out months ago. McD's attempts have not proven fruitful and their profits steadily fall world-wide each year.

For the very rare few of us, we remember when chains did this one before in the 80's and early 90's. The Noid, Domino's Pizza's mascot and Cool Spot, 7UP, are just some of the businesses that attempted to capitalize on the craze. As kids, we enjoyed playing, but it didn't always encourage us to buy the products advertised. As adults, we find them to be classic gimmicks of our youth and nothing more. Playing Spot didn't encourage me to drink 7UP. I thought it was a game to pass the time. If we happened to have 7UP in the house, great. If not, no big deal. There were other drinks to take up the shelves. So I don't see the KFC game going far beyond the gimmick phase. We'll play. We'll laugh at it's lunacy. But it won't encourage us to subconsciously buy more chicken.

What do you think? Does Colonel Quest stand a chance at winning over adult customers?


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