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Out of this world and out of their minds

Jaime Luján Zilbermann
Everyone in the business knows branding is an essential part of the industry… But when KFC announced that they were the first brand visible from space, my first thoughts were, "why on Earth?"

In my last blog entry, I commended KFC on their decision and implementation of cutting the use of trans-fats in their fried chicken products. In my current instalment I have to chide them for going a tad bit overboard on branding.
Everyone in the business knows branding is an essential part of the industry. Case in point, I refer to another previous blog, in which Carolina Turkey took over Butterball  in financial terms but Butterball took over CT in branding terms. But when KFC announced that they were the first brand visible from space, my first thoughts were, "why on Earth?"
The main idea behind branding is brand-awareness, meaning, in this case, that if someone says "fried chicken" the first thing that comes to mind is KFC and the famous Colonel Sanders. I have to hand it to them… KFC has done an exceptional job until now, because I'm sure most readers would have a similar reaction.
For a moment, however, lets think this through: you can now see an image of Colonel Sanders from outer space. How is this going to build brand awareness, besides the few press clippings and blogs that some readers might come across? Because this is going to become old news as soon as I finish writing this blog entry.
Just how many people are going to come across this image? The handful of astronauts that go up to space every year? That hardly justifies the expense. The other handful of people who will see it on their computer screens through Google Earth? Maybe if it wasn't in the middle of the desert it might help.
Bottom line: KFC's marketers certainly have creativity and can come up with ideas that are literally out of this world, but who in their right minds would pay for this kind of sponsorship? It seems KFC has plenty of money to throw around. I wonder what its shareholders will say about this in their next meeting…

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