Sam Flemming
Sam Flemming

When the KFC in China got hit by a food scandal, it took a while before they took on the inevitable buzz at the internet, says internet watcher Sam Flemming in Adage. But now they have started to face the issue directly.


In recent weeks, KFC has begun unfolding a campaign to reinforce its food safety bona fides. Dubbed “Operation Thunder,” it includes a mini-site detailing steps the company will take to ensure the safety of its chicken, including working with only the best suppliers and stepping up coordination with regulators. It also pledged to better inform consumers about product safety issues.

Meanwhile, KFC kicked off a poetry contest on social media. The company asked fans to pen poems that include the phrase, “The chicken are innocent,” laying the blame on illicit drug use at the farms. Best poem wins an iPad mini.

“After a slow start in reacting to the crisis late last year, KFC has taken on a more active approach to social media to face the issue directly. They have increased activity on their own Weibo and RenRen accounts, including responding to many of the comments about the crisis and by engaging media key opinion leaders. They will share news articles about the crisis on their Weibo account which in turn creates more buzz,” said Sam Flemming, founder and chairman of Shanghai-based social-media research and consulting firm CIC.

More in Adage.

Sam Flemming is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need him at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch or fill in our speakers’ request form.

Next week, on Thursday 21 March, the China Weekly Hangout will focus on food security in China. CEIBS sustainability professor Richard Brubaker and others will join us to discuss over 6,000 dead pigs in Shanghai and other issues in the domestic food chain. Read here our announcement, and register for participation at our event page. 

After developing the internet in China, the country’s internet companies are increasingly looking for a global market. The China Weekly Hangout discussed the global aspirations of China’s internet companies in November 2012 with Steven Millward of TechinAsia.

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