From Mark Brandau, Nation's Restaurant News
: As KFC spokesman Rick Maynard puts it, "When your product launch is
more memorable than the Snuggie, you know you've done something
KFC's Kentucky Grilled Chicken, which debuted in the spring
with a series of giveaways, was the most recalled launch of the year.
However, it wasn't the only restaurant chain whose new products struck
a chord with consumers. In fact, KFC, McDonald's, Quiznos and Taco Bell
had five of the top 10 most recognized new products of the past year,
according to the Most Memorable New Product Launch Survey, conducted by
Boston-based Schneider Associates along with IRI and Sentient Decision
This year's survey results ended a
two-year trend in which technology products dominated the top 10. While
93 percent of the 1,125 respondents could not name one new product from
a list of 50, those who did most readily recalled Kentucky Grilled
Chicken, which Louisville, Ky.-based KFC launched April 27 with its
"UNFry Day" giveaway, handing out 4 million servings of chicken.
Associates pointed out that KFC's product rated No. 1 by more than 10
percentage points over its nearest competitor, McDonald's McCafe line
of premium coffee, with a recall score of 40.1 percent to 29.6 percent.
Rounding out the top five product launches were the "Beatles: Rock
Band" video game, 18.3 percent; the Snuggie blanket with sleeves, 17.7
percent; and the Blackberry Storm smart phone, 13.2 percent.
public-relations firm said two national "UNFry Day" giveaways, the
second of which occurred Oct. 26, and a robust advertising campaign
contributed to KFC's product awareness, as did the fallout from a
botched giveaway tied to the "Oprah Winfrey Show."
Winfrey promoted a coupon for a free grilled-chicken meal on her show
in May, customers' demand in the first two days of the two-week
promotion far exceeded supply, leading KFC to issue rain checks for the
meal and an additional soft drink.
Novak, chief executive of KFC parent Yum! Brands Inc., said the
Kentucky Grilled Chicken launch was an "unqualified success," and he
added that nearly 70 million people have tried the product this year.
continue to get rave reviews from customers, both existing and new or
lapsed, about the product, and our job is to continue to drive trial,"
At McDonald's, the two premium products launched this year that landed on the Most Memorable survey — the No. 2 McCafe specialty coffees and the No. 7 Angus Third Pounder line of burgers — spurred traffic not only from new customers but also from existing guests looking to try something different.
McCafe] we saw a lot of incremental traffic," said Sofia Therios, the
chain's marketing director for McCafe. "Some of that can be from
customers who had gone elsewhere for coffee, but we also saw trade-up
of our own customers. The drinks are good for an afternoon treat."
had been in test for well over a year, Therios said, and the drinks
were deployed in a staggered manner unlike other product launches for
"Normally, we like to launch all at
once, but the nature of the infrastructure needed for these products
required a gradual deployment across the country," Therios said. "It
was a period of a year and a half launching market by market. We came
together this year as one country to market it all at once."
Angus Third Pounder had been tested in a few key markets for about two
years before its August nationwide launch, said Marta Fearon, director
of marketing for the Angus product. The company took that time to learn
from operations and consumer feedback and was not particularly worried
that the premium product's launch coincided with the nation's worsening
"I would say, at a time when
consumers really appreciate value the most, McDonald's is able to bring
a premium-burger experience with the value they've come to expect from
McDonald's," Fearon said. "If nothing else, we hadn't had new-burger
news in our lineup since 2002, so in that sense it created a lot of
buzz. I'd also say it brought in incremental customers who'd gone
elsewhere for big burgers."
MOST MEMORABLE PRODUCT LAUNCHES OF 2009*
- KFC'S Kentucky Grilled Chicken
- McDonald's McCafe coffee drinks
- "Beatles: Rock Band" video game
- Snuggie blanket with sleeves
- BlackBerry Storm smart phone
- Quiznos' Toasty Torpedo
- McDonald's Angus Third Pounder
- Taco Bell's Volcano Nachos
- T-Mobile's Google G-1 Phone
- Samsung's LED TV and the Off Clip-On (tie)
*Source: Schneider Associates, (R) and Sentient Decision Science
Read more: http://www.nrn.com/breakingNews.aspx?id=377024