KFC’s Mother’s Day Marketing Campaign

KFC’s Mother’s Day Marketing Campaign

Integrated Marketing Communication: An Evaluation of KFC’s Mother’s Day Campaign

KFC’s Mother’s Day Marketing Campaign

Mother’s Day holds great value impact as a commercial event and is quite vital for modern-day businesses. This is especially relevant for companies in the people business such as food and beverage sector. Recent research has found that Mother’s Day spending impact is significantly higher than the spending done during Christmas (Parkin, 2020). The KFC South Africa Mother’s Day marketing campaign sheds a lot of light into the importance of using integrated marketing communication. For companies like KFC, Mother’s Day is uniquely made to fit social media campaigns, the print media, and email marketing. KFC’s Mother’s Day ad was an opportunity to spark meaningful conversations with its target market. The marketing communication used aimed at manipulating the emotions of consumers in relation to an international event that is intended for mothers, one that encompasses a great deal of emotional connection.

Target Market and Segmentation

KFC used demographic segmentation, geographic segmentation, and psychographic segmentation. Demographics were used to target consumers on the basis of gender (Mother’s Day) and age, geographic segmentation applied to South Africa and the city population, and psychographic segmentation was use to appeal to the different classes including the upper class, the middle class, the working class, and those under subsistence labor. The marketing campaign showed these segments through different women in business, those driving, those in semi-skilled labour, and the affluent.

In the marketing campaign, the basis of the content was on a well-define segment and target market. The target market was segmented on the basis of the relationship between mothers and sons on various levels. With the theme of being there for those that choose others, KFC divided the target market into two- those buying a gift for mothers and the mothers who are recipients of emotional gifts from the men in their lives. KFC’s campaign created an emotional desire for mothers and their sons to want the product advertised and for the mothers to reach out to those that would buy the gifts. The campaign applies the consumer buying process principle to recognise a need, conduct information search, evaluate alternatives, and then make a purchase decision before conducting post-purchase assessment (Sinclair and Green, 2016). The segmentation aims at facilitating a positive choice from the consumer. Following the influencer model of communications, the target market for the marketing campaign was intended at forming an opinion of the brand (KFC chicken and chips) under the influence of the actors used and the mass media. In the two-step flow of communication paradigm, the mass media influences opinion leaders, who in turn are impacted by the opinion leaders’ influences (Hibert et al., 2017). Hypodermic needle or the magic bullet hypothesis says that individuals are closely impacted by mass media in contrast to the influencer communication model (Hibert et al., 2017). KFC applied the two-step flow model in the hope that the marketing goals and objectives would spread from opinion leaders (actors in the advertisement) to a larger audience in South Africa. Further, the target audience, compared to the marketing campaign, can be linked to the AIDA model of communication. KFC applied attention, interest, desire, and action parameters so as to influence the consumers to engage the brand through consumption. The Mother’s Day event was used to create awareness and an emotional campaign was used to draw the interest of the target market. Desire was also created by employing emotional content marketing, in the hope that customers would take action and buy the brand’s product.

Core Tools Used in the Campaign

As per the communications mix theory and model of marketing, brands can use a mix of either elements including advertising, personal selling, direct marketing, public relations, and sales promotion (Phua, Jin, and Kim, 2020). KFC’s campaign uses advertising, direct marketing, and public relations as the main core tools in its communication mix. Advertising is a powerful tool for reaching a big number of people in a short amount of time, and it is relatively inexpensive. The fact that it is more expensive does not change the fact that it is the most efficient solution in the long term because of its vast reach (Hughes and Fill, 2007). Creating a global brand’s identity while also communicating its message to an enormous number of people in a timely and effective manner is the ultimate objective of advertising campaigns (Laurie and Mortimer, 2011). A company or a target audience can pick from a variety of channels when using this type of integrated marketing communication, depending on the organization and the population it is seeking to reach. KFC’s Mother’s Day commercial included print, banners, and social media.

When it comes to direct marketing, it is all about providing information about a company to individuals who have comparable interests. Even though direct marketing includes certain features that are comparable with mass advertising (Weilbacher, 2001), it is more likely to accomplish brand objectives because of its concentration on the target market (Punti, Schroeder, and Ritson, 2010). The communication techniques have been developed in response to a greater need for consumer communication from the market. In order to reach this audience, internet targeted display advertising is used in direct marketing strategies. KFC used social media marketing to reach out to its target audience in a direct and personal manner.

Building favorable brand perceptions with customers is critical for businesses looking to develop long-term business ties with them (Arnold and Reynolds, 2003). To ensure that their public relations (PR) strategy continues to meet the needs and expectations of their target audience, it is not unusual for companies to invest in branding through important social and political events. Trust is the fundamental purpose of public relations, and it may be achieved through a variety of methods such as community participation, openness, or reacting to pressing situations, among others ( ). It is possible to gain free exposure through public relations when done right because it is not broadcast as a sponsored commercial and, as a consequence, is not deemed paid advertising. The fact that Mother’s Day is a social occasion that is important to the target market led KFC to recognize and employ another integrated marketing communication framework that includes integrating the brand into consumer lifestyles and societal standards by capitalizing on Mother’s Day as a social occasion that is important to the target market.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EkTjhZkQXmkKFC’s use of public relations, advertising, and direct marketing was effective. This is especially of how the three strategies were able to fit in into different platforms such as print, email marketing, social media, and television. However, advertising added to KFC’s cost of production. It also triggered increased competition from other companies in the food and beverage sector as they saw a need to respond. Similarly, direct marketing may have an opposite effect as consumers are bombarded with information and content from other companies. Use of internet marketing could also lead to privacy issues for consumers who may reject a company (Ashkenazi, 2014). In terms of public relations, one notable weakness of this approach for KFC is that it is difficult to determine success or failure. It lacks guaranteed results (Davies and Slater, 2015), and offers the organization little control (Dost et al., 2019). Despite these limitations, KFC’s marketing communication effectively used the Mother’s Day event to make an appeal to a special target market, sons and their mothers, utilizing the special bond to create an emotional campaign.

Classes of Media Applied to the Campaign

KFC used print and digital media for its Mother’s Day campaign. When news and information are generated and distributed through the use of printed publications, this is referred to as print media or print media dissemination. Customers’ purchasing patterns are influenced by the advertising of services and products by organizations (Johnson, 2008). To be more precise, print media marketing is used by marketers to communicate with a variety of audiences, including prospective consumers, organizations, and the general public, among others (Valos et al., 2017). Digital technology, in this instance social media, provided KFC marketers with a platform and a means of communicating with existing and new customers. It helped to personalize the KFC brand and to convey the company’s message about the importance of social bonds between moms and sons throughout South Africa.

KFC’s Mother’s Day Print and Social Media CampaignDigital marketing has completely transformed the way firms and organizations utilize technology to advertise themselves to their target audiences. All of the digital marketing buzzwords, such as SEO (search engine optimization) and SEM (search engine marketing), as well as influencer and campaign marketing, automation, data-driven marketing, and e-commerce marketing, are becoming increasingly prominent in the digital marketing sector (Aljukhadar et al., 2019). In addition to e-books and optical CDs, digital marketing campaigns are increasingly using them into their strategies. Because of the rise of digital marketing, companies like KFC now have a platform from which to engage with their customers on a more personal level (Snyder and Cistulli, 2020), and this relationship is intimately related to technical innovation. KFC used this platform to effectively connect with its market on an intimate holiday and event.

There are notable weaknesses to the use of print and digital media. In use of social media by KFC, the company faced increased competition, high dependability on technology, and a marketing strategy that must be hinged on time accuracy. Using a boring or repeated technique would result in the brand being defunct in a short period of time. In the age of digital marketing activities, when the competition is severe, brands must be attentive to the needs of their customers to succeed (Rosengren, Eisend, & Koslow, 2020). For starters, digital marketing is primarily reliant on technology, and the internet has a high mistake rate (Niedermeier, Wang, and Zhang, 2016), which may be particularly problematic for KFC. When links do not function properly, landing pages do not display, and website buttons do not execute their intended purposes, it is likely that KFC may lose out on revenue. While these weaknesses are important to mention, it is also notable that the use of digital media by KFC provided a way for the organization to measure success through number of views, clicks, likes, and the amount of people following the provided link. The hashtag #TheOnesWhoChooseUs was created as a direct link to social media platforms including Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, where visitors would be exposed to other products and services offered by KFC. Overall, KFC’s use of print and digital media was highly effective despite the mentioned weaknesses.

Forms of Content

KFC applied branded and emotional content marketing approaches. Emotional marketing is a type of marketing and advertising that focuses on using emotion to get people to notice, understand, promote, and buy an idea, service, or product. To provoke a customer response, emotional marketing usually taps into a single emotion, such as happiness, sorrow, anger, or fear (Holbrook and O’Shaughnessy, 1984). KFC effectively used emotional content marketing to tap into the cheerfulness of Mother’s Day, the happiness it should bring, and joy of having mothers around. According to the wheel of emotions model by Robert Plutchnik, the inclusion of emotions in marketing is necessary (Chafale & Pimpalkar, 2014). Depending on the industry as well as the product, targeting emotional connection is always guaranteed to get results (Ganganwar, 2021).

Wheel of emotions (Source: Chafale & Pimpalkar, 2014)

Emotional content is linked to the marketing goals. For instance, KFC wanted to exploit the special bond between mothers and their sons on a special event. Emotional marketing leaves a lasting effect on customers. It assists people in making decisions based on their emotions. People are motivated to take action as a result of emotional marketing. These elements are well achieved in the KFC commercial that tells a story to show the connection between mothers and sons, and to create an emotional bond that is admirable by all. Emotional marketing has the potential to increase the emotional worth of customers, as well as their connection and engagement. Customers’ higher Customer Lifetime Value as a result of greater customer loyalty is the genuine advantage. During an emotionally charged incident, KFC employed emotional marketing to help customers form positive mental brand image and the items it was selling. It also made it simpler to evoke a psychological and, more commonly, a physiological response from consumers in response to commercials. As such, emotional content marketing for KFC proved to be more effective than traditional advertising efforts since it triggered the desired emotional responses. Emotional marketing was used to increase positive perceptions of the company and its products.

KFC’s use of emotional content marketing posed some challenges and weaknesses as a strategy. Emotional marketing tries to generate favorable mental associations and emotional responses with a positive valence (Kozinets et al., 2010). However, determining what physiological and emotional reaction is being accomplished, as well as what is ‘appropriate’ for a brand, its consumers, and its products or services, is tough. The impact may be diminished if the inappropriate valence of emotional reaction is generated or if adequate activation is not achieved. For KFC’s marketing campaign, determining how the target market would take the message was difficult and unpredictable.

KFC also used branded content in the marketing campaign. The story in the marketing campaign is branded to advertise KFC’s bucket package to families and as a perfect gift for people. The benefits of using this approach for KFC is that branding is not invasive, it creates a genuine emotional attachment, it is likely to go viral, and generates loyalty and engagement while improving brand positioning. Ganganwar (2021) adds that branded content adds value to the customer. However, KFC faced huge development expenses in making and marketing the campaign. The most significant disadvantage of branding is that it is extremely expensive, as firms must spend a significant amount of money on advertising and publicity in order to establish a brand. In addition to these disadvantages, branding has the additional issue of making it difficult, or perhaps impossible, to restore a brand’s prior position or status once it has gained a bad name or reputation.


The strategy applied by KFC has been largely successful based on the interactions on social media measured via the view time of the video, likes, shares, and comments. However, the print media campaign has not been as effective. Therefore, it is recommended that KFC uses social media and email marketing to replace print media. Social media marketing can be improved through the inclusion of other platforms such as TikTok and Instagram to ensure viral following and sharing of videos.


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