KFC: KFC Velvet Cake Krush

Campaign Summary

When KFC launched its new velvet cake dessert, it wanted to let busy moms know the easy, affordable dinner the QSR offered had gotten even better. However, the brand knew that time-stretch moms didn’t have the bandwidth to look at digital banners or other traditional advertising. Instead, KFC and its partner Kargo leveraged an activity that moms already loved — mobile gaming — to introduce the new product, and drive foot traffic to KFC locations via an in-game store locator.


Objective and Context:

KFC was preparing to launch its new velvet cake dessert, which it positioned as a sweet finish to a KFC family meal. The brand wanted to connect with busy moms who, between packing lunches, corralling kids, and putting in a full day at the office, didn’t have time to prepare a home-cooked meal, or the energy to get everyone to the table at the same time. The KFC family meal provided a convenient, affordable solution for moms, and the velvet cake was an incentive for kids to put down their video games and eat dinner. The challenge was to reach incredibly busy moms in a way that grabbed their attention without annoying them.

Target Audience:

KFC targeted busy moms, ages 30 to 49, with multiple children. These moms live in households where both parents work, meaning that scheduling is a constant balancing act. Keeping up with their children’s school work and extracurricular activities on top of their own can be stressful, and many nights, there just isn’t time (nor energy) to prepare a home-cooked meal. However, family dinners are still important to this audience, as quality family time is at a premium. These moms are constantly searching for affordable, convenient meals, but at the same time, they are so busy and bombarded with advertising that traditional brand messaging wouldn’t cut through the noise and engage them.

Creative Strategy:

Instead of creating a standard digital banner ad and hoping for the best, Kargo and KFC delivered moms exactly what they needed — a break from their nonstop day—on their favorite platform, the smartphone. Consumer research revealed that moms loved a certain popular candy-crushing mobile game, so Kargo and KFC developed KFC Velvet Cake Krush, an addicting game which cloaked brand messaging in entertainment. The brand used three metrics to determine the campaign’s success: consumer engagement, time spent playing the game, and click-through rate on the embedded store locator.


Overall Campaign Execution:

Ad impressions that drove traffic toward game downloads were dayparted and delivered when moms were deciding what dinner would be. The ads ran on sites that were popular with the target audience, including Working Mother, Parenting, Family Circle, and Better Homes & Gardens.

Mobile Execution:

The Red Velvet Cake Krush game was developed using $75,000 of a $450,000 mobile budget aimed at promoting a variety of KFC items.

Results (including context, evaluation, and market impact)


KFC had experienced positive sales through Q1 2015, but there was still an opportunity to regain lost family transactions. Initial reports indicate that the Red Velvet Cake Crush game has contributed to continued sales momentum since its launch.


  • 190,000 unique players
  • 22 percent engagement (three times the industry benchmark)
  • 12 percent of users visited the KFC store locator
  • 47 percent of users played multiple times
  • 77 percent universal touch rate, which measures how much the audience interacts with the marketing message via taps, swipes and other actions (the industry benchmark is 5 percent)
  • Sixteen seconds average time spent with app (1.6 times the industry benchmark)

Market Impact

KFC Velvet Cake Krush was a custom, first-to-market solution that resulted from quality consumer insights on mobile behavior. It was a combination of gamification, native advertising, and mobile marketing.

Categories: | Industries: | Objectives: Product/Services Launch | Awards: Submission