Case Study: How KFC used drone to popularize their new Smoky Grilled wings

KFC Drone Case Study

Category Introduction

Fast Food restaurants or quick service restaurants are the food chains which provide bulk food servicing needing minimal preparation, is made in bulk and usually available for take-out. Globally it accounts for over $570 billion in revenue; the fast food market in India is expected to be worth US$ 27.57 billion by 2020.

Brand Introduction

Kentucky Fried Chicken, best known as KFC is an American fast food chain which mainly specializes in providing fried chicken, is the world’s second largest. It is India’s one of the top fast food chains with about 380+ stores. KFC is present on various social media platforms, with Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter being the main platforms where it talks about trending topics, films, and innovations.


KFC wanted to launch a new product in the Indian market with the intent of increasing awareness and sales for the new product. With the launch time being around India’s Makar Sankranti festival, the product launch was given an innovative twist. The new Smoky Grilled wings were introduced in a DIY drone packaging, this gave people something new to fly for the festival.


KFC wanted to launch a new product, Smoky Grilled Wings, in the Indian market and hence wanted to drive anticipation and raise awareness around it. They also wanted to increase the in-store footfalls with consideration/intent to purchase the new product.

Creative Idea

Makar Sankranti is the biggest harvest festival in India. It is important as a core Indian tradition and at the same time is a popular festival among the 18-24-year-old audience as its the one time of the year where everyone engages in kite-flying.

The KFC Smoky Grilled Wings Launch was around the same time as this widely popular festival. The brand’s Google Audience Study inferred that a majority of our loyalists were interested in technology and gaming – which helped direct the execution of the campaign.

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The challenge was to create a campaign that would resonate with the Indian audiences and to get KFC audiences excited about a product launch in a heavily cluttered market space.


The product was to be introduced in the month of January around Makar Sankranti, India’s most widely celebrated harvest festival. Given the popularity of kite flying during the festival season, the launch of the product was used to give them something new to fly, i.e, a drone!

A limited edition packaging was created for the Smoky Grilled Wings by making a box that could be made into a DIY drone.

By creating a strong association between a kite flying festival and the product launch using DIY drones, a lot of conversation was created that translated into in-store footfalls.


The campaign started off by conducting a careful study of existing drone prototypes. Since the idea involved the box transforming into the drone chassis, 3D printing was used which was supported by design and drafting softwares to develop the device.  Multiple prototypes were created before finalising on the product design and then integrated with an app that was supported on both iOS and Android.

Then a contest on social media was opened up where the audience was teased with social content and invited KFC loyalists to select the 12 stores across India where the limited edition boxes could be availed. This set the ball rolling, creating conversations and driving buzz among audiences.

Get your KFO

The opportunity you’ve been waiting for! Register for a chance to buy your own #KFO. Registration closes at the end of the day.

Posted by KFC on Tuesday, 30 January 2018

For the launch, a box was sent to publications to review. The innovativeness of the idea lent itself to native content, articles, blog posts, YouTube reviews and video content across the internet.

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Grilled to perfection. #KFCSmokyGrilledWings

A post shared by KFC India (@kfcindia_official) on


The KFO with its cutting edge drone technology was a massive success.

The KFO grabbed thousands of eyeballs and was covered across TV, social media and online publications globally. The coverage depth included TV news coverage, comments, shares, tweets, video content, Vlogs, articles, listicles, blogs, and websites. Publications include CNBC, The Sun, Verge, Mashable, Engadget, Hindustan Times, Unilad among others.

The KFO was a hit among audiences, increasing in-store footfalls. People waited in line to try the Smoky Grilled Wings and get their hands on the KFO.

The conversation online had audiences posting about the campaign – leading to 23.9 billion impressions, 1 million+ unique engagements and the KFO trending on Twitter.

The KFO created KFC brand recall and conversation online about their newly launched product. In-store sales of the Smoky Grilled Wings grew by a colossal 1400%, with customers demanding their own KFO. This led to KFC setting up a merchandise website where people could purchase the drones for themselves.