Why you don't care about KFC's free grilled chicken day.

Remember back in May all the hoopla around Oprah and KFC teaming up to promote the new grilled chicken offering? All you had to do is print out a coupon and wa-lah: free grilled chicken. So many people cashed in on the deal that most of the KFCs ran out of chicken. Oops.

A couple of months later, they did it AGAIN.

Third time’s a charm, right? Because today is – you guessed it – free grilled chicken day at your local KFC. And this time you don’t even have to bring in a coupon. Just walk in and ask for a piece of grilled chicken and it’s yours. Apparently there will be extra staff and, of course, a lot of extra chicken on hand.

So why is KFC giving away chicken for the third time? I know I didn’t go the first two times, so why would I change my mind and go this time?

Look, I can see why you would do the promotion once. And since they ran out of chicken the first time and had a bunch of angry “free lunch” customers on their hands, I can see why they would do it a second time to make up for it. But a third time? Come on. Now you’re just telling the rest of us that you don’t value your new offering, so why should we? There’s a KFC about a mile from the Brains on Fire world headquarters, but even though it’s free, KFC is still not going to make its way into my realm of consideration.

Free is a trap. (And we’ve talked about it before.) Sure, it generates attention. But what next? From a previous post: Because just like the donkey, if you dangle that free carrot, it will do the minimal amount of work it has to do to get its prize. And then it’s done. At least until you dangle another carrot.

The kids at Chick-fil-A gave away chicken strips a while back, but at least you had to work for it in that you couldn’t get the freebie unless you were wearing the logo of your favorite sports team. That creates some community support. That enforces some fandom. And it’s so Chick-fil-A.

If nothing else, KFC will be making a buch of college kids happy (for the third time), but folks like that will always go where the freebie is. So KFC, good luck with that. I’m headed down the street to spend my dollars with the local guys anyway.

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