UPDATE (5/8 9:30 AM): In a not-surprising-at-all move, KFC began airing the following television commercial this morning:
A rain check? Um… I don’t think so. I appreciate the offer to sweeten the deal with a free Pepsi, but I think KFC has officially crossed the line of how far I am willing to go for some free chicken. But don’t forget that your coupons are still good at El Pollo Loco on Sunday.
UPDATE (5/7 2:30 PM): With reports pouring in about KFC franchises’ refusing to honor free grilled chicken coupons, El Pollo Loco has responded on Twitter by offering to honor KFC’s “1234″ coupons on Mother’s Day. More info at Consumerist. Does history teach us nothing? Am I the only one who remembers the Starbucks coupon fiasco back in September of 2006? Distribution of a “friends and family” Starbucks coffee giveaway spiraled out of control, and Starbucks responded by canceling the promotion. Enter Caribou Coffee who stepped in and announced to the world that Starbucks coupons would be honored at any Caribou Coffee location. Starbucks, the behemoth, looked like a bunch of jerks. Meanwhile, Caribou Coffee, the little guy, enjoyed an avalanche of positive PR. I say, good work El Pollo Loco (now that song will be stuck in my head for the rest of the day). Mom, guess what you’re getting for Mother’s Day…
UPDATE (5/7 11:00 AM): Rumors about the Oprah PDF “1234″ coupons have finally been substantiated. The Baltimore Sun is reporting multiple cases of people being turned down for free chicken. It has been verified that at least two restaurants are not honoring coupon codes that end in “1234.” This keeps getting worse for KFC, as it looks like they’ve decided to take the “screw the customer because of our own mistake” route. Either that or franchise owners are taking matters into their own hands. As far as I can tell, KFC has made no public announcement about the issue. I encourage you to email me or post in the comments if you have more information.
UPDATE (5/6 8:00 PM): The “while supplies last” clause is in full effect. I was denied a free chicken dinner at my local Kentucky Fried Chicken because they had run out of grilled chicken. I wonder how many others across the map are experiencing the same thing.
UPDATE (5/6 10:00 AM): The UnthinkKCF.com site has changed the link yet again. It’s back to generating unique codes for the coupons. I was able to generate 4 coupons with unique codes before I was informed that my limit had been reached. Problem is, only 2 of them actually printed out. The software is obviously still buggy. But this doesn’t really change the fact the the Oprah PDF coupon will still have to be honored.
UPDATE (5/6 7:30 AM): Oprah’s blog has removed the PDF link and replaced it with a link back to the KFC site. And the KFC site is no longer bothering with the coupon software download that generates a unique code. Now it’s just the same PDF download that was previously on Oprah’s site. So the end result has not changed, but the location has.
If you know what the internet is, then you know that television titan Oprah teamed up with KFC to give away coupons for a 2-piece grilled chicken meal. It’s all part of Oprah’s habit of giving away things like cars and chicken and Kentucky Fried Chicken’s ruing the day that they agreed to included the word “fried” in the name of their restaurant.
Just minutes ago, the “Print Coupon Now” button started redirecting to a post on Oprah’s blog apologizing for the errors and delays.
So what’s the big deal? Well, for those of you who actually got any coupons to print (I only got 2 of the 4 that KFC promised after waiting for 2 hours and having to install software), you’ll notice a unique 2-D barcode near the top-right of the coupon accompanied by a one-of-a-kind number code. This was KFC’s way of ensuring that there woulnd’t be a chicken-run on an epic scale. Also, during the coupon-printing process, the KFC guidelines clearly prohibit printing to PDF.
Obviously, the Oprah blog post is providing a downloadable PDF. This means that thousands if not millions of people are going to show up to KFC with identical bar codes. Kentucky Fried Chicken has two choices. Either they can honor every coupon that walks through their doors and take a bath on their stock of grilled chicken, or they can cancel the promotion entirely and take a bath on PR. Either way, they’re pretty screwed.
I advise you to hurry up and go to the Oprah blog post with the download link and print out as many of these as possible. Perhaps we’ll all be eating free chicken for the next few weeks. I’m amazed how completely KFC underestimated Oprah AND social media. I can’t wait to see how this pans out.