Hungry Lion: Hungry Lion “Lucky Bucket” Campaign

Campaign Summary

Hungry Lion, a QSR based in South Africa, wanted to bring innovation to the way it used couponing and promotion. By leveraging USSD codes, which were usable on any cell phone, the brand created a completely mobile, trackable system with which to distribute coupons and enter consumers in a sweepstakes. Consumers spotted buckets of Hungry Lion chicken that displayed codes which could be texted in exchange for a three-tiered coupon program.


Objective and Context:

In the summer of 2014, Hungry Lion, a popular chicken fast-food outlet found across South Africa, set out to create a campaign that would help break previous sales records. The brand launched the “Lucky Bucket” mobile coupon campaign. The campaign’s objectives were to increase the order size of existing customers, and to specifically target and bring in new customers not yet in the brand’s database.

Target Audience:

The Lucky Bucket campaign targeted the mass market, focusing on 18- to 40-year-old consumers with an average household income between 3,500 and 10,000 ZAR per month.

Creative Strategy:

Customers had to spot a Lucky Bucket, either online or in person, to win a share of R7 million in cash, prizes, and cellular airtime. Consumers used the mobile code on the bucket to receive coupons that could be redeemed for prizes, ranging from free food to free cellular airtime to a cash grand prize.

Hungry Lion wanted to disrupt the standard coupon/sweepstakes campaign by utilizing mobile technology to achieve its key objectives. The brand sent 50 Lucky Bucket mascots via helicopter to strategic locations around the country, close to Hungry Lion locations. These mascots promoted the campaign in a fun and engaging way, and were spotted riding on trains, touring the city, surfing, and visiting iconic areas all over South Africa. Consumers could use their mobile phones to dial unique codes printed on the buckets to get coupons and to enter the sweepstakes. In addition to the 50 mascots, buckets were also spotted on popular TV shows, digitally on global and local social networks, in print, and on in-store media. All physical and digital buckets had unique mobile codes that enabled the brand to measure activity based on channel.


Overall Campaign Execution:

Consumers spotted buckets in person and online, and coupons were issued via mobile phones exclusively. Users dialed the unique USSD code to get a seven-digit coupon code, along with instructions on how to redeem it. Ten percent of the overall budget was allocated to mobile.

Mobile Execution:

Because the campaign targeted mass-market consumers, Hungry Lion chose to use USSD mobile technology, as most consumers had access to the technology, it was affordable, and it was easy to use. USSD is a text-based menu-driven app that uses the call functionality of the handset, is found on all mobile devices, and requires no Internet access. This allowed consumers with even the most basic cell phone to engage in the campaign.

The entry mechanism was three-tiered, to guarantee consumer re-engagement and interest throughout the campaign. The first tier awarded customers with a coupon for free chicken pieces, burgers, sodas, or ice cream. The second tier was unlocked when customers redeemed their tier one coupon at a Hungry Lion location. A second coupon was immediately issued via SMS while the consumer was still in-store. The second coupon prompted users to spend R30 or more in order to get free cellular airtime, upgrades in sizes, and free burgers and drinks. Due to the instant gratification of the mechanism, many redeemed their second coupon during the same visit they redeemed their first. Because the second tier required consumers to buy a meal, it contributed to the Hungry Lion sales goal. Users who redeemed the second coupon unlocked the third tier, which entered them into a R100,000 grand prize drawing.

Using advanced cellular tower triangulation techniques, customers could also find the closest store, even on non-GPS-enabled handsets. Additionally, consumers could find out more about Hungry Lion’s current specials and promotions, and view the full menu on their phones. The integrated campaign put mobile at its center, and ensured that all physical, digital, and print media displayed a unique USSD code, making it possible for the brand to measure the success of each channel via a real-time interactive dashboard. Analytics on engagement with the codes allowed Hungry Lion to make real-time changes to campaigns and advertising schedules, and even to position the bucket men more effectively. Data was also collected on in-store coupon redemptions, showing which stores customers visited to redeem their coupons, where sales were increasing, and also which media channels contributed to the success of the campaign.

Results (including context, evaluation, and market impact)


Hungry Lion, the third-largest QSR in South Africa, has been creating innovative mobile marketing for years, and it used its past learnings to optimize the Lucky Bucket campaign. Lucky Buckets created significant buzz and caught the competition’s attention.


The campaign drove hundreds of thousands of consumers into Hungry Lion outlets countrywide, resulting in a 37 percent increase in overall brand engagement and double-digit sales growth. It delivered over 2.5 million mobile sessions from 1.5 million unique users, exceeding the original goal of one million unique users. In total, the Lucky Buckets campaign issued more than 1.86 million coupons. Hungry Lion set a goal of 15 percent coupon redemption, and exceeded it substantially, achieving an overall redemption rate of 25 percent.

By issuing unique USSD codes for each disparate channel, Hungry Lion was able to track, with granularity, the performance of each isolated channel:

  • “Bucket Men” resulted in the issuing of over 545,000 coupons, of which more than 263,000 were redeemed, resulting in a 48 percent redemption rate.
  • TV ads led to almost 530,000 coupons issued, of which more than 97,000 were redeemed — a 19 percent redemption rate.
  • In-store media issued more than 78,600 coupons, of which more than 36,700 were redeemed — a redemption rate of 51 percent.
  • Digital and social channels contributed to the rest of the 706,400 coupons issued, of which 72,313 were redeemed, for a redemption rate of 10.2 percent.

The redemption rate for tier one coupons was 26 percent and 23.9 percent for tier two. This was the biggest contributor to the sales target increase, since all users who redeemed tier two purchased products valuing at least R30. The brand also increased its own database by more than 100 percent, bringing the total to 2.6 million consumers.

Market Impact

Hungry Lion managed to meet or exceed every benchmark it set, and positioned itself as an innovative South African brand in the mobile space.

Categories: | Industries: | Objectives: Cross-Screen Advertising | Awards: Bronze Winner