Ogilvy: KFC’s Michelin Impossible

Text reading Michelin Impossible with eiffel tower set in Australia and the KFC logo

Ogilvy: KFC’s Michelin Impossible

Changing Australia’s perceptions of KFC

When KFC previously tried to tell people that its food was high-quality, no one believed them. So instead of telling them again, Ogilvy created a publicity stunt to get Australians consumers to recognise the high quality of KFC's food.

They set an unlikely hero on an ambitious mission; to get Kentucky Fried Chicken a Michelin star, the ultimate symbol of food quality. KFC storeowner Sam Edelman was selected to spearhead the mission. His Alice Springs, Northern Territory KFC restaurant is right in the middle of the Australian outback – 1,600 km from the closest town.

To earn a Michelin star, a restaurant must be considered "worth a special journey”. Sam's customers regularly drove 1,000km to his KFC branch. That’s got to be worth a star, right?

The campaign kicked off with Sam creating a dedicated Facebook page for his endeavour, sending the story to several local newspapers and inviting food critics to visit his KFC branch. Authenticity was crucial, so while the initial content was scripted and shot weeks before launch, the mission played out in real-time via the Facebook Group.

Sam’s audacious campaign got millions of people invested in the mission, leading to global coverage and even an interview with Michelin-starred chef Stephane Pitre and Gwendal Poullennec, International Director of the Michelin Guide, in Paris.

Despite being rejected by Michelin, the campaign went viral in Australia with coverage from international publications such as Vice, The Guardian and ABC News. The campaign doubled sales growth and reached 850 million people through earned media. In addition, 65% of Australians surveyed claimed that their food quality perceptions of KFC had changed.