Fast Food Wars: Creative Social Campaigns From Drive-Thru Brands

Fast Food WarsOur consumer attention spans have grown numb, calloused, and unresponsive to the continuous stream of noise served up each day.

So, when something cuts through all the BS, it must be recognized.

The Fast Food chains have started getting some notice on social media with creativity, a couple shots at one another, and some snarkiness. These “Fast Food Wars” remind me of the Cola Wars between Coca-Cola and Pepsi back in the 70s. While the fast food chains duking it out for our breakfast, lunch, and dinner dollars is nothing new, the creative ways they are levering the social media channels is noteworthy.

Let’s take a peek at some of the ways these brands are cutting through the noise and getting some buzz.

Colonel Sanders Likes The Spice Girls and 6 Dudes Named Herb

Colonel SandersLast week, a Twitter user just unveiled the cleverness of KFC’s social media brainiacs.

The 11 people that Kentucky Fried Chicken has decided to follow on Twitter are the five spice girls and six guys named Herb.

For those not yet picking up on the genius of this, KFC has long talked about the secret 11 herbs and spices that go into the breading on their chicken that so many love.

Extra credit must be given to @edgette22 for noticing that KFC was only following 11 people and then digging in more to see who they were.

Here’s How It Went Down

Edge continued to post Tweets about his encounter mentioning the memorable Nuggets for Carter campaign…

And even showcases other restaurants taking advantage of this 15 minutes.

KFC finally responded to Edge

We really hope that @edgette22 gets something for his discovery… perhaps a bucket of tasty KFC chicken signed by Colonial Sanders, the Spice Girls, and the six guys named Herb stuck in the middle of this.

KFC is not the only fast food company doing fun shit on social.  Here are a couple more nuggets (that was blatant) for you.

Wendy Being Sassy

The red hair stereotype must be shining through on social media.

This apparently began in response to an internet troll who decided to challenge Wendy’s claim that their beef is never frozen.

Most brands would ignore such a response. The unexpected and witty comeback by Wendy’s social peeps earned them street cred.

From here, people begin to engage Wendy’s on Twitter to see how she responds.

Burger King Takes Aim At Wendy’s

Burger King has taken direct aim at Wendy’s customers with a variety of recent moves.

In response to Wendy’s 4 for $4 meal deal, they “one-upped” them and came out with a 5 for $4 meal deal.


Earlier this year, Wendy’s decided to discontinue their spicy nuggets. This did not sit well with many Wendy’s customers that took their displeasure online.

Burger King took advantage and lived up to their slogan “Have It Your Way”.

Earlier this month, Burger King added spicy nuggets to their menu and took direct aim at Wendy’s in a variety of ways.

They placed billboards near Wendy’s locations.

To continue the attack, Burger King announced that anyone named “Wendy” that visited a Burger King restaurant on October 13th would get a FREE 10 piece spicy nuggets.


So, what’s the takeaway here?

Each of these brands took unique approaches that outside the “safe zone” that so many marketers are fearful of venturing away from.

Social media marketing doesn’t have to be boring and vanilla.

There are over 6,000 Tweets per second, 300 Million photos uploaded to Facebook each day, and over 300 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute. That is a ton of competition.

Create a strategy focused on content that your buyer personas will find valuable and engage with.

Don’t be generic in your responses.

Take calculated risks.

Your customers are talking online. Join them.



What a PGA Pro Can Teach You About Marketing

I’m one of those guys that can watch six hours of a PGA tournament on a Sunday and be disappointed when it’s over.  There is nothing more fascinating than watching the best golfers in the world duke it out against each other and against the course.  They’ve spent years and years mastering their craft to put their skills to work in hopes that all that hard work leads to a win on Sunday.  So how does golf have anything to do with marketing?  Bear with me for a moment.


Let me start off by stating that I am not even close to a PGA Professional Golfer.  I’m average at best.  Golf has been a big part of my life ever since I started caddying at the age of 14.  I immediately fell in love with the game.  The peacefulness of teeing off at dawn with the morning dew still on the ground… the etiquette of the game which is like no other… the strategy of playing a hole around well-placed obstacle… the camaraderie and respect created with those you played with.  In the summer before my freshman year of high school, my friend Todd asked me to play with him at a local golf course that allowed anyone trying out for the golf team free greens fees.  I was terrible and had no interest in trying out as I had plans to play football.  He persuaded me to tell the course I was trying out for the team so I would play with him.  Our Moms would take turns dropping us off in the morning and picking us up at dusk.  Rounds and rounds later, I started to score better.  I was hooked and never looked back.

What it takes to be a good golfer

Golf is hard.  Even the most athletic people can find it frustration to get their game to the point where they feel they are decent.  I’ve had several friends try to play golf and get so upset when they see someone that is not as fast, muscular or in shape as they are mop them up on the course.  Getting good requires continual practice to develop consistent results.  The more shots you take from different lies and situations leads to better results as time goes on.  When they are not playing in tournaments, PGA Professional Golfers spend hours and hours practicing, measuring and analyzing every aspect of their game to find where they can improve and need to make adjustments.

“The more I practice, the luckier I get.”
~ Gary Player

Marketing is no different.  So many business owners approach marketing the same way as first-time golfers.  They buy the best equipment, rush off to the course and try smacking the ball as far as the pros only to get frustrated when they don’t see instant results.  To get the best results from your marketing, you need to take the same approach a PGA Professional Golfer takes in preparation for each tournament.

Set time aside to practice

Just as more trips to the driving range will lead to better ball striking, the more effort you put into your marketing will yield better results.  It will take time but hard work, discipline and the understanding that improvement is made in small strides will lead to continual growth in your marketing efforts.  Develop a game plan for how you are going to approach your marketing.  You must set time aside in your schedule to make this happen.  Block off several time slots in your calendar each week where you concentrate on nothing but marketing.  A handful of hours a week quickly turns into hundreds of hours spent implementing your marketing strategy.

Learn from your bad shots

The second hole of a course I played in a high school match was a par 4 that wrapped around a huge pond.  From tee to green it was only 250 yards.  I knew that I could drive the ball that far.  I sank six shots in the water before I wised up and played around the water.  The rest of the round I played at even par but the 22 that I took on that hole ruined my score.  That taught me that long shots do not always pay off and smart play, even though you can hit the ball that far, is the often the best route to go.  You are going to fail at the shots you take while marketing.  It could be a carefully crafted email that no one in your list opened or an AdWords campaign that lead to a horrible conversion rate.  Learning why you failed and making adjustments will increase those conversions and lead to results.  Analyze and measure everything possible like your call-to-action, traffic, conversions,  audience… and figure out what works and what doesn’t.  Fine tune for the best results.

Never get rusty

Living in Michigan means I get to golf from about April until October.  During the winter months, my clubs sit in the basement until the warm weather hits.  Every spring I have to knock the rust off my game and get back the feel / finesse before I begin scoring they way I did at the end of the previous season.  Those five months of winter kill my game for a month or two as I get back up to speed.

All too often, we can get complacent in with our marketing.  Especially when we get busy due to the new opportunities created from the growing efficiencies in our marketing strategy.  Don’ t let off the gas.  When you are winning, work harder.  This will help you avoid the cycles that so many businesses face when they pull back their marketing when they get really busy.

Keep playing!

Even a bad day on the course can be worthwhile if you make it a learning experience.  It’s a sure thing that if you don’t come back to play, you’ll never improve.  Small gains are still gains and the surest way to not succeed is by not stepping onto that tee box.

Tell a Story to Make Your Point

One of my favorite things to do is tell stories.  Now that I have kids, this is really exciting as not only get to reread some of my old favorites like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory but also get to feed off their imaginations and create / tell stories with them.


Another one of my favorite things to do is use stories when educating clients about ideas, strategies or concepts they might struggle understanding if I kept it straightforward and technical.  I’ve found myself opposite a salesperson unengaged with what they are saying because it was all boring blah, blah, blah about features and the company and themselves… nothing they were saying struck a chord to draw me in and relate to their service.

How to Create Your Story

This doesn’t have to be difficult.  Just think about the features and benefits of your product / service and how those affect your customers.

  1. Use real-life testimonials – Unless you are just getting started with your business, you are likely to have several success stories from previous customers.  Identify a handful of the main issues your customers are faced with causing them to contact you and have an example of how you helped a previous customer (be cautious with using actual names here) with their very same problem in the past.  This will show them these issues they are facing can happen to anyone and that you’ve had success in remedying the situation.
  2. Create a story – Maybe you don’t have a real life example that you can use.  Not a biggie.  Create an ideal story that is fitting to their situation.  Don’t hide the fact that this is not a real live story either.  Start off by saying “Let’s pretend for a moment…” and then walk them through the issue followed by the remedy per the features and benefits you provide.
  3. Be very general – If you don’t want to get specific with a particular story, create a very general overview about issues your customers face in your industry and how your company can help.  Right now, mobile responsive websites is super- hot topic because of the Google algorithm update that happened a couple weeks ago.  For the past couple years, I’ve been talking to my customers about consumers in general and how they are more connected with mobile devices than ever before.  This is leading to increased searches driving more and more traffic to their website using these mobile devices.  A website that is not mobile responsive is going to lead to a bad user experience and now (because of the Google algorithm update) may hurt their page rank.

For most of us, hearing a story is fun, engaging and likely to get a point to stick with us for a little longer than the typical boring banter that most others are slinging.  Make the most of the time you have communicating with your customers so they don’t forget you.


Hello World! My Name is Ken.

I’ve been wanting to start this blog for awhile… longer than I’d like to admit.  My name is Ken and I own a digital agency called Neon Goldfish in Toledo, Ohio.   While Neon Goldfish has a fantastic blog that covers topics of all sorts ranging from search engine marketing to web design, this blog in particular is going to be a composition of my thoughts on marketing along with some discussion about latest trends that will hopefully answer some of the questions that many of my clients have. I hope you enjoy it.

A little background on me

Eastern Michigan University was the start of my marketing interest.  During my first year at the business school, I quickly found an attraction to all things related to marketing and took as many marketing related classes as the curriculum would allow and still keep me on track for graduating.  Back when I graduated, we were fortunate to have tons of jobs opportunities to choose from… I feel horrible for college graduates today.

My first job was an account rep for a company IKON Office Solutions which sold copy machines to businesses.  While sales was probably my least favorite area of marketing, the potential to make money was the highest.  Naturally that made me choose sales.  After a couple different sales positions at different companies, I landed a great job as a yellow page sales rep with AT&T (then SBC).  Now this was something that I really liked… helping business owners generate new customers to their business.  I wanted to learn more so I bought books on marketing and became a sponge soaking in as much as I could.  As I read more and learned more, I began to see the future in marketing was online and traditional means of advertising would soon be scrambling to adapt.

On a random Tuesday, I quit my job and started a marketing company.  Ill prepared, I struggled through the first six months hustling to find clients and get my feet under me.  Then I began to feel the pains of a one-man-show.  I’d spend normal business hours meeting with clients and the evening hours implementing what I sold.  Exciting at first but I knew there had to be a better way.

In the spring of 2007, I was at a going away party for a co-worker of my wife’s and ran into Justin Johnson whose wife also worked with my wife.  We’ve hung out a couple times before on incentive trips the girls won to Vegas or Miami.  They would be entertaining and we would be finding trouble.  Justin also had a web design company (much more established) that he ran solo.   We talked and decided to collaborate on a couple jobs.  He was good at the design and code, I was good at the marketing and client relationships… we had a good thing so we started Neon Goldfish.  Fast forward eight years (to now) and we’ve built a pretty solid digital agency that helps companies all over the country with their online marketing needs.

What gets me up everyday

Besides one of my kids screaming to announce they’re awake an hour before anyone else should consider getting out of bed, the challenge of engaging with consumers gets me going everyday.  What can we do to grab attention and make conversions?  How can we help / teach our clients to stand out from the crowd?  These are things that I find fascinating and fuel my drive.  Of course, I have to mention all the cliche things like my wife and family and provide them with a great life with puppies and white picket fences and all that crap too.  That too gets be going but it is so much more rewarding doing something that I enjoy.

Why write this blog?

I haven’t quite figured that out exactly.  Everyday I get to hear stories from clients and prospects about what they are doing, what is working, what they want, what other people are telling them to do… and then I get to tell them my stories.  I’ve started to see there is value in both sides of these stories and think this platform could be a great place to share some of those thoughts that could help others along the way.  Additionally, I aim to take a stab at some tutorials and how to’s (related to marketing) that might have a glimmer of value to someone somewhere.  We will have to wait and see.

See you around!