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Good and Bad PR: KFC pays out on Colonel’s birthday

Good PR  

Although it disappoints me to say it (as a veggie turned vegan), KFC’s PR activity is almost always spot on. Earlier this year, it offered to give the first parents who named their baby after Colonel Sanders on 9 September (his birthday), $11,000 towards their little one’s college tuition fees.

And, low and behold, it has actually gone and dished out the dollar to a couple that went ahead and gave their daughter the birth name of Harland Rose.

I didn’t know this, but Colonel Sanders’ actual name was Harland Sanders and he was born in 1980. At first when I read into this story, I thought Colonel would be a terrible name for a baby (especially a little girl), but I guess Harland isn’t too bad a name to be lumbered with, especially if you find out later on in life that you’re $11,000 richer for it.

The announcement was made by KFC on itsTwitter account this week, which is why the contest is getting another round of coverage following the initial announcement back in August. The baby’s parents will be calling her Harley for short, a much lovelier name, and will no doubt be laughing all the way to the bank.

As baby naming stories go, this is a pretty good one; and as PR stunts go, this is definitely a good one. It’s scored a whole load of coverage across the pond, where the baby naming contest launched and the baby was born/names, but also over here in the UK and beyond. I’m a fan of the “name your baby after ” PR stunts and they seem to work time and time again. 

Nice work, KFC.  

Bad PR  

Swim England, the national governing body for (yep, you guessed it) swimming in England, has been the bearer of bad PR this week, after uploading an article onto its website offering advice to women wanting to look slimmer in their swimwear.

The blog entry – headlined ‘Choosing swimwear for women’ focused on how to pick the right swimwear for your body type. Trouble is, it included lines such as: “Bikinis totally expose a jiggly belly and trying to squeeze it into a one-piece will not slim your stomach, only emphasise it.” So, you can imagine how that went down (*spoiler alert*… like a lead balloon).

People took to social media to express their outrage, after the article was flagged up by @SimoneWebbUCL.

It was actually posted a few years back, but started doing the rounds after this thread on Twitter. Swim England eventually removed the article and tweeted an apology:

However, by then it had already picked up coverage on the likes of the BBC, Huffington Post, Daily Telegraph and more; resulting in some reputational damage for Swim England and a day or two of crisis comms in action.  

Written by Shannon Peerless, 10 Yetis @ShazzaYeti on Twitter.
Seen any good or bad PR lately? You know what to do @10Yetis on Twitter or on email

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