If you’re driving down the streets of Louisville, Ky., you may be startled to find Col. Sanders filling a pothole. Or at least someone dressed as the late great chicken entrepreneur.
In an unusual cause marketing campaign, the chicken chain has taken on the pothole project in the company’s hometown in exchange for a bit of â€˜advertisingâ€™ at the repair site. After a pothole is filled, the fresh pavement is stamped with a chalky stencil that reads â€˜Re-freshed by KFC,â€™ which ties into its new â€˜freshâ€™ campaign touting KFC’s food quality. The street graphic fades away with the next downpour.
Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson said in a statement that budgets are squeezed for many cities across the nation, and money for road repairs is often in short supply. “It’s great to have a concerned corporation like KFC create innovative private/public partnerships like this pothole refresh program.”
Writing for trade magazine Advertising Age, Emily Bryson York notes that the KFC effort is part of a growing trend in consumer-service marketing by major brands. For the past three holiday seasons, Charmin has provided a public restroom in Times Square. The bathroom tissue brand has also developed an app for iPhone and Blackberry that helps consumers find toilets when nature calls. Similarly, Samsung has installed electrical charging stations in many major airports to help travelers stay connected.
In this tough economy, we’re likely to see more of these kinds of public service efforts, especially as companies trim traditional ad budgets.
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