Garfield right for KFC

Fast food chicken king Kentucky Fried Chicken hopes to peck out a niche in the children's market with the help of Jim Davis' cantankerous cat, Garfield....
January 1, 1996

Fast food chicken king Kentucky Fried Chicken hopes to peck out a niche in the children’s market with the help of Jim Davis’ cantankerous cat, Garfield.

Beginning this month, KFC is running a first-quarter national in-store promotion featuring six Garfield-related toys offered free when children order a $1.99 to $2.49 Kids Meal.

The ‘Garfield Motor Speedway’ premiums include finger puppets, free-wheelers (push cars) and pull-back toys developed in conjunction with the Marketing Corporation of America. Advertising support will be in-store only, except in spot markets, where media will be tested for use in future promotions.

The Garfield giveaway marks the first time KFC has created a promotion specifically marketed towards children. In a previous promotion, KFC offered Looney Tunes mugs at a cost of $1.99 with the purchase of a $14.99 ‘Mega Meal,’ but that program was not directly aimed at children, and required an additional purchase on top of buying a Mega Meal. The Garfield toys will be given away free with Kids Meal purchases.

According to Michael Cobb, senior director of consumer promotion at KFC, the chain’s renewed effort to market towards children is part of a larger scale plan to develop its image as ‘America’s chicken kitchen for families.’ KFC shied away from such edgier characters as ‘The Tick’ and selected Garfield after extensive research indicated that Garfield not only had high recognition with both children and parents, but also fit into the chain’s corporate image of being an all-family business.

Currently, KFC is considering only established animated or kid-related properties and characters. However, Cobb says the company is not ruling out future promotions with new theatrical releases should the right situation come along. Additionally, he says that KFC is considering creating its own brand characters or creating some sort of kids’ club, like McDonalds Restaurants and Burger King, respectively, but that’s currently still in the exploratory stage.

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