When you come at the Colonel, you best not miss. Tuesday marked the official debut of McDonald’s Canada’s new Chicken Big Mac, an updated version of its classic sandwich featuring two all chicken patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese and pickles on a sesame seed bun.
But some of the sandwich’s launch-day thunder was stolen by KFC Canada, which greeted its counterpart’s new entrant in the chicken sandwich wars with a series of cheeky social and out-of-home activations subtly suggesting that McDonald’s might be overstepping.
Within minutes of McDonald’s tweeting that the sandwich had launched, KFC Canada responded with social posts on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook featuring a picture of what looks like the new Chicken Big Mac in which the patties had been swapped out for KFC chicken. “There, we fixed it ;)” said the tweet, accompanied by the hashtag #BetterWithKFC.
That led to some good-natured Twitter sparring between the two brands, with McDonald’s Canada responding “no need to fix something that is perfect bestie” and KFC challenging McDonald’s to a taste test.
But KFC didn’t stop there. It also parked mobile billboards showing the “upgraded” Chicken Big Mac outside McDonald’s locations throughout Toronto, purchased a billboard on the Gardiner Expressway, and enlisted influencers to “upgrade” their Chicken Big Mac by replacing its patties with KFC.
“KFC is known for ‘Finger Lickin’ Good Chicken,’ and when McDonald’s announced the launch, we saw it as a timely opportunity to tap into a cultural moment such as this,” said KFC’s director of marketing, Azim Akhtar. “It was a chance for the brand to have some playful banter and engage with our consumers in a fun way.”
The campaign was developed by KFC’s creative agency partner Courage, which put the various parts in place in less than 24 hours. “What I love about this idea is that it’s not just about reacting fast for the sake of being fast. It’s something that’s truly rooted in KFC’s DNA and what it always gets credit for—great tasting, Finger Lickin’ Good chicken,” said Courage founder and CCO Dhaval Bhatt.