You have to admit that the advertising worked – KFC offered a free deal to consumers on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” with an associated coupon placed on Oprah’s website. Then, unable to keep up with demand, it shut the program down and is now facing a class action lawsuit.
The offer was for two free pieces of grilled chicken, two sides and a biscuit. It was offered for a very limited time on 5/5/09. But after serving up a reported 4M meals, the chain could no longer keep up with demand and starting issuing rain checks.
The lawsuit is coming from a pair of consumers in Los Angeles, charging false advertising and fraud. They claim that the deal was a bait and switch.
They had to pay to download and print out the coupons, then pay to travel to a KFC restaurant, and then pay to send in their raincheck to KFC to get a new coupon.
RBR/TVBR observation: While this could add up to a hefty piece of change if KFC is forced to do a payout, it’s hard to imagine any one “bilked” customer deserving so much as $5 in compensation. What the incident does show is the power of television in general, and the power of Oprah in particular.
And you know what – it’s even hard to imagine how this could add up to a hefty piece of change for KFC, either. How many people will be able or willing to go to the trouble to prove that they are among the victims? If it were people like us, who value our time, we would have looked at the long lines reportedly generated at KFC locations by this promotion and said the heck with it – what other restaurants are around here?