Michelin Impossible: How an Aussie underdog took on the food establishment

IPA Effectiveness Awards Case Study 2020

To unlock faster growth driven by Australia’s growing appetite for quick dining, KFC needed to recruit more of the category’s new & ‘light’ buyers. However, KFC’s biggest barrier was the nation’s long-held scepticism of the food’s quality, which was stymying trial. After previous failures to convince the nation with rational communications, the brand took a different approach – by tapping into a highly emotional, and uniquely Australian version of national pride. Following the underdog story of an outback KFC’s quest for a Michelin star, the brand achieved an entirely earned-media led campaign, sparking widespread national and international coverage and social conversation that lasted for an entire month.  Post campaign research showed seismic shifts in brand perceptions, which generated significant incremental revenue and doubled the category sales growth.

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Every three months, KFC Australia has a formal quarterly review session with all of its agencies, where each of the previous quarter’s communications campaigns are reviewed in detail. Each campaign is analysed, dissected and discussed amongst the group, with the objective of learning from the work we produce; arguably the best kind of ‘advertising research’ there is. After each review, a robust list of learnings is documented, and then circulated to every individual who works on the KFC business; from the internal marketing department, to all agency teams. These learnings can be as ‘upstream’ as product naming and pricing, all the way down to the miniature of granular executional learnings, like font size and lighting. And, of course, insights and strategy. This documented list of learnings is then applied to the next quarter’s work, ensuring we are always learning, always evolving, and always understanding which campaigns (and individual elements) are effective, and which are not. These open sharing sessions, and the application of their learnings, is the greatest manifestation for how KFC Australia and its agency partners build a culture of effectiveness. For the Michelin Impossible campaign, the lessons learnt were, of course, documented and shared with the wider team, and we have already applied many of the learnings in subsequent campaigns. Given that it was the first time we had attempted an idea where the media strategy was to gain Earned PR traction, the lessons were certainly ‘new’, and have proved vital in the designing of similar campaigns thereafter.

Sally Spriggs, Marketing Director, KFC SOPAC
KFC Australia

Winners 2020

Bronze Winner

Best Small Budget


Michelin Impossible: How an Aussie underdog took on the food establishment




KFC Australia


Ogilvy Australia

Principal Authors

  • Toby Harrison - Ogilvy Australia
  • Ryan O'Connell - Ogilvy Australia

Contributing Authors

  • Hamish Hartley - Ogilvy Australia
  • Charlotte Jones - Ogilvy Australia

Credited Companies

  • KFC Australia - Brand/Client
  • Ogilvy PR Australia - PR Agency
  • Infinity Squared - Other|Production

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