Fast Food is a fascinating industry for PR-watchers, one of the few where brands still allot budget and freedom to big, bombastic stunts. In the UK we rarely go a month without a (largely very effective) Greggs wheeze, while across the pond an escalating series of shenanigans (of questionable PR value) has recently included Popeye Chicken flying producer Diplo a free sample of a sold-out viral sandwich on a private jet, KFC sponsoring a music festival complete with a ‘Colonel Sanders’ DJ set and then the same poultry peddlers last week announcing a bizarre partnership with Crocs to produce a pair of chicken-scented rubber slippers. The post-Super Size Me furore and rush to make Fast Food healthier is a distant memory.
All good fun, but here’s my question: now that Boris has declared obesity his new cause du jour, and the invisible hand has the fast food industry by the throat, will these stunts count for anything, or will these brands wish they’d spent a little less time shouting from the rooftops and a little more time convincing public health bodies of their right to exist? Noise for noise’s sake is a dying practice, only an ability to communicate with substance will keep the regulatory wolves from the door now.