As the Brexit deadline approaches once again, the battle across party political lines continues to intensify. Controlling the conversation on social media plays a big role in trying to retain and win over new voters ahead of a general election.
However, as the Conservatives found out recently with their KFC tweet about Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, using the wrong approach can easily backfire.
After Jeremy Corbyn refused to take up Boris Johnson’s challenge to hold a General Election, the Conservatives marketing team decided to Photoshop him wearing a giant chicken suit and copied in KFC, saying they found a bigger chicken than them. So what did they do wrong and what should their approach have been?
- The first mistake was roping in the wrong company. KFC may sell chicken but they themselves aren’t one. Even copying in an account like Sesame Street’s Big Bird would’ve made more sense.
- In the top left of the image, a strapline says ‘JFC: Totally Spineless Chicken’. The only problem is, Corbyn’s middle name is Bernard. Which means it should be JBC.
The use of JFC as an acronym also makes no sense. ‘Totally Spineless Chicken’ should translate to TSC – making the strapline ‘TSC: Totally Spineless Chicken’. Something else that wasn’t thought through.
- Accusations are rife from opposition parties that Conservatives are becoming dictators following the proroguing of Parliament. That means mentioning chickens allowed the Green Party to respond using the #Stopthecoup hashtag. Another Tory own goal scored.
- Of course, KFC weren’t going to keep quiet. They responded by putting the Conservatives in their place with a simple “This is KFC not LBC don’t @ me”. If you’re on the receiving end of a sharp putdown on social media, it’s hard to come back from that.
- Choosing KFC for their metaphor was extremely short sighted. Given growing fears over import and food shortages, there’s a good chance KFC might be short on chickens post-Brexit.
- Putting Corbyn in a chicken suit was supposed to make him look stupid. Instead, the Conservatives somehow managed to make him look cool – almost like a mob leader about to put the hit on his opposition.
- The Conservatives also didn’t do their research. JFC is already a copyrighted brand – and it just so happens to be an independent chicken shop in Salford, Manchester.
- It also leaves the door open for Labour to get in touch with the JFC restaurant to discuss the potential impact of Brexit on their business (presuming the owners are anti-Brexit). They could sup a photo opp with Corbyn behind the counter and maybe even organise a food bank outside to show they are thinking about local issues.
All in all, it’s a massive own goal for the Tories on social media and a lesson to everyone else. Always pay attention to the details before you send out a marketing message so it isn’t pulled apart by your audience and you end up with egg on your face.
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