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Mother’s Day WOM Smackdown — WOM is a two-way conversation — El Pollo Loco vs. KFC

KFC scored an amazing word of mouth hit when Oprah offered a coupon for a free meal at KFC.  It was amazingly popular.

imageUntil El Pollo Loco discovered a loophole:  The coupon wasn’t good on Mother’s Day.  From National Restaurant News:

El Pollo Loco on Thursday posted a viral video suggesting that KFC doesn’t honor mothers because a coupon for a free meal is not valid on Mother’s Day this Sunday.

Saying that El Pollo Loco “loves mothers and families,” the 418-unit chain on Mother’s Day will honor the KFC coupon offer of a free two-piece grilled chicken meal with sides, which was promoted Tuesday by television talk show host Oprah Winfrey.

The coupon was available for download on KFC’s website until midnight Wednesday and the giveaway reportedly prompted a run on chicken. KFC stores across the country reportedly had long lines and some ran short on supplies.

The KFC coupon is good through May 19 — excluding Mother’s Day, when El Pollo Loco hopes to pick up some of the 5,200-unit chain’s freebie-seeking customers.

“What does KFC have against moms?” poses the El Pollo Loco video, questioning the coupon’s exclusion date. “Wow, KFC, I hope your moms don’t find out about this.”

The lesson: Word of mouth is powerful, but it’s a two-way conversation. Once you open the door to customer involvement, you can’t close it again.  Getting them talking is the start, keeping them happy is harder.

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