You’ve no doubt heard by now about the KFC Indianapolis cross-branding. Rather than write this up for you, we invite you to submit your jokes about this to our comments section.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Fast-food chain KFC is giving Indianapolis and another Indiana city $7,500 so it can emblazon founder Colonel Sanders’ face on their hydrants and fire extinguishers to promote new “fiery” chicken wings.
Experts say to expect more ads like this, on public property from sewer grates to the local landfill, as companies look to cut through the clutter of traditional advertising. Cash-strapped governments have long sold space on mass transit, benches, trash cans and other public property to help stretch budgets.
KFC told Indianapolis and Brazil in western Indiana it wanted to improve their fire safety by helping pay for new hydrants and extinguishers in exchange for advertising on them. The company plans to e-mail a national network of mayors today to find three more cities to participate in the approximately $15,000, monthlong effort, which began Tuesday.
Indianapolis will receive $5,000 to buy fire extinguishers and smoke detectors. Some 33 extinguishers will be placed in recreation centers at city parks, and fire officials will hand out the detectors, said Jen Pittman, spokeswoman for Mayor Greg Ballard. The extinguishers will display KFC’s logo for at least a month, a KFC official said.
“It’s offsetting a need, it’s offsetting some of our budget costs,” Pittman said.
Alternative marketing efforts like this have been growing as people become immune to advertising in print, outdoors and on television, said Allen Adamson, managing director of branding firm Landor Associates in New York.
“I think it’s the tip of an iceberg of things to come as marketers struggle to find places to reach consumers and as cities look for ways to squeeze more dollars,” Adamson said.
Laura Ries, president of marketing consulting firm Ries&Ries outside Atlanta, said marketers must find new places to reach consumers.
“People ignore advertising, they try to get away from it whenever possible,” she said. “So hitting them in unusual and unlikely places, at least initially, is likely to get some attention.”