KFC, Taco Bell, and McDonald’s are winning with their fans by taking promotional products to the next level
Among the 14 definitions given by Merriam-Webster for the word “swag”, definition 3-C likely resonates the most with younger consumers today: promotional goods or item.
In fact, once considered a promotional strategy relegated to cheap giveaway pens at conferences or the free beer koozies given out in stadium tailgates, swag is now a cottage industry and is finally being seen as a legitimate brand marketing tool. For some context, according to a piece in the Huffington Post, as many as 85% of consumers will do business with a brand after receiving a promotional product from them.
So which franchise brands are ahead of the game when it comes to decking out their fans in swag?
Kentucky Fried Chicken has been all over the viral internet in recent months, and that extends to their swag game. KFC has created an entire online experience to go along with their branded products, all housed within a swanky online store. And while $5,000 for an “Internet Escape Pod” may be a little high for some, a line of Colonel inspired clothing is tapping into a Millennial customer base with a love of eclectic (some might say tacky) and humorous fashion choices.
And honestly, who wouldn’t want to snuggle up at night with their own Dream Colonel Pillow?
But what is one to do if Colonel Sanders’ face on a tee shirt is not quite enough of a statement? Maybe a full body Big Mac onesie is more your cup of McCafe coffee.
That’s right, the burger behemoth earlier this year rolled out a menu-inspired line of clothing that was available for free through UberEATS as part of their McDelivery Collection.
Said McDonald’s spokesperson Lauren Altmin in an interview with AdFreak. “At McDonald’s, we continue to raise the bar for our customers—with new recipes, a fresher look, and now new levels of convenience through McDelivery with UberEATS. To celebrate, we created the McDelivery Collection, a fun line of items designed to help people savor the delivery experience, whether they’re craving a Big Mac snuggled up on their couch or sharing some fries with friends in the park.”
Not to be outdone, Taco Bell also operates a full online swag store, the Taco Shop. But while KFC and McDonald’s offerings trend a bit on the goofy side, Taco Bell has gone for a more wearable look with a line of subtlety branded apparel (although, the fashion sense of anyone with a taco on their sweatshirt is certainly up for debate).
Add to that a full line of iPhone cases (many of which are currently sold out, for anyone who doubted whether fans are actually buying branded swag) and even a sauce packet bouquet for the bride with a sense of humor and little shame.
True, most of items above are little more than well-executed jokes; a play toward the current generation’s love of the wacky and different. But the fact remains that people are buying the products, becoming walking billboards and ambassadors for the brands. Most importantly, creative swag has become an opportunity for large corporations to show off a fun and unique side, something that is clearly resonating with today’s consumer.
So, after you are done hanging your Burger King Car Air Freshener and before you lay your head down next to the Colonel’s stoic visage, it might be time to consider adding your own line of swag to keep your brand’s image fresh and your name on customer’s lips (and full body onesies).