A news summary, focused on 10 big employers; updated 9:43 a.m.
KFC‘s latest publicity stunt — fried chicken-scented sunscreen — zigged in the U.S. from People magazine, then zagged to the U.K.’s Marie Claire, rolling up untold millions of dollars in free PR over the past 48 hours since its brief Monday launch. And it all involved just 3,000 bottles of a fake product never meant to get into consumer’s hands, according to trade site DigiDay.
Google News counted nearly 100 websites mentioning KFC Extra Crispy Sunscreen. Huffington Post’s story had 3,100 shares. The retro promotional infomercial video got nearly 280,000 views since it was posted on YouTube. And it won 11,000 mentions on social media, said Brandwatch analyst Kellan Terry.
The campaign was by the W+K agency in Portland, Ore., and followed the same formula W+K used for another client: Old Spice. “Its irreverent and unconventional,” Terry said, “and people love to laugh and watch the ad as it unfolds. These types of spots are tailored for multiple platform success.” And it paired perfectly with fake Colonel Harland “Extra Crispy” Sanders, played by actor-turned-pro tanner George Hamilton (photo, top).
The sunblock gimmick followed KFC’s two edible nail varnishes — flavored Original and Hot and Spicy — released in Hong Kong back in May.
TACO BELL is once more in the very unwelcome spotlight after reports employees refused to serve law enforcement officers. The latest incident, involving five Louisville Metro Police officers, comes amid a summer of rising tensions between police and the public.
The one in Louisville happened last week at the Taco Bell at Preston Highway and Phillips Lane, when the officers were taking a work break from duty at the Kentucky State Fair. One employee told co-workers he wouldn’t take the officers’ order, though another worker did eventually take the order, according to Sgt. Dave Mutchler, president of the River City FOP union representing officers.
“However, in the meantime,” Mutchler wrote in an e-mail, “another employee stated to a co-worker ‘I want to mess with them. I want to mess with them. I’m going to mess with them. I’m going to mess with them.'” Seeing no manager, the officers left.
Both Taco Bell and the Louisville franchise owner apologized to Louisville Metro Police and directly to the officers. The franchise owner says police made it clear they didn’t want any of the employees fired, and said he would retrain staff (Courier-Journal and WKYT).
The incident echoed one last month in Phenix City, Ala., where a Taco Bell clerk wouldn’t serve two sheriff’s deputies after another customer complained about the officers being there. The employee was fired and the chain apologized to the deputies and to the sheriff’s office. But there have been others involving cops:
- In Toledo, Ohio, last week, a sheriff’s deputy was fired after making inappropriate Facebook posts about Taco Bell employees he said made vulgar remarks about him. One post said a black employee and a co-worker inside the restaurant yelled “Black lives matter,” and laughed at him while he was in his car in the drive-thru. The deputy was in uniform at the time.
- A KFC employee in Missouri was fired early this month after reportedly threatening to spit in a Franklin County sheriff’s deputy’s order.
UPS: In Richmond, Va., the shipper says it plans to lay off 160 workers from its UPS Freight unit there within the next 12 months in a cost-cutting move. News reports didn’t give a total headcount there, however (Times-Dispatch).