KFC’s newest product is slipper-fitting good

Already synonymous with comfort food, KFC Canada is branching out into perhaps the ultimate form of comfort footwear: the slipper.

The chicken chain last week launched a new line of limited-edition footwear called “KFC Couchside Kicks,” a pair of chunky, sneaker-shaped slippers in the brand’s familiar red and white colourway. The name of founder Col. Harland Sanders is also written on the side.

It’s not even KFC’s first foray into footwear, with its U.S. division having partnered with Crocs last year to launch a line of footwear featuring images of its signature fried chicken, complete with accompanying Jibbitz “charms” with the shape (and smell) of KFC drumsticks.

KFC has also dabbled in other apparel products ranging from a KFC Bucket Björn (complete with sauce pocket and napkin dispenser) and limited-edition KFC bucket hats. This past holiday season, it partnered with Canadian Tire to sell a holiday firelog that gave off the distinctive scent of KFC when burned.

“We love the idea of bold marketing activations that are grounded in who we are as a brand, but they push the boundaries and help us show up in unexpected ways,” said KFC Canada marketing director Ira Dubinsky. “They help us to show up in ways that are part of everyday culture, part of the activities that are important to people.”

Products can be a great way to build consumer affinity, said Dubinsky, but it’s important they also reflect the brand’s core values. “It does have to have a bit of integrity and authenticity to it, but it’s also important it doesn’t become a distraction to the primary business of running the business and connecting to consumers,” he said.

Unlike the Crocs product, KFC Canada is not selling the Couchside Kicks, but inviting consumers to try and win a pair through an online raffle it calls a “Bucketdrop” —a riff on the common term “drop” used by the sneaker community to denote the release of new products. TV ads ran on TSN and Sportsnet through Sunday, driving consumers to KFCBucketDrop.ca for a chance to enter a raffle for the slippers.

Developed with agency partners John St. and Wavemaker, the KFC Couchside Kicks highlight the brand’s ongoing association with the NBA in Canada, said Dubinsky. “This is a nice add-on that is a way to connect with people and helps build love for the brand,” he said. “It builds buzz and helps build our relevance among Canadian consumers.”

Just think of it as chicken with sole.

Chris Powell