Like an abusive ex-boyfriend begging his girlfriend to take him back, Yum Brands‘ campaign to better its reputation after last year’s antibiotics scandal, has fallen on dead ears. In fact, it might even be making things worse.
The website has the slogan “Trust in every bite” which is part of the chain’s ‘I Commit’ campaign, according to Reuters. The campaign intends to win back some of its customers after being scared away by a Dec. 2012 report of Yum using too many antibiotics in a few of its KFC suppliers.
The campaign includes social media programs, more intensive employee training and ads featuring consumer visits to chicken farms. Ironically, this attempt to improve upon Yum’s negative image has only reinforced it.
A poll surveyed 1,000 consumers and it revealed that 39% of them are still concerned over Yum’s antibiotic use. Reuters reports:
Some diners told Reuters that Yum’s ads bring back memories of China national television’s December 2012 report showing that a few poultry farmers supplying Yum fed excessive levels of antibiotics to their chickens. That report helped spawn several months of double-digit percentage declines in sales at established KFC China restaurants.
……The more KFC promotes its food quality, “the more I go off them,” he [one customer] said while eating a hamburger combo meal at Burger King (BKW.N). “They keep harking on about it again and again. It’s not their competitors that are beating them, it’s themselves.”
Despite all this, the Yumpire is still going strong with KFC China sales expected to rise 7.2 percent this month, according to Consensus Metrix. Says KFC China Chief Executive Sam Su, “We are down, but we are not out.”
Though considering KFC China’s track record, this sounds more ominous than reassuring.