Cannes Lions

KFC 11 Herbs & Spices Firelog

EDELMAN, New York / KFC / 2019

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Invented by Founder Colonel Harland Sanders, and perfected in 1940 after years of experimentation, KFC’s secret recipe blends the iconic 11 herbs & spices enjoyed around the world every day. But during the holiday season, when turkey dominates the dinner table in the United States and other parts of the world, keeping KFC chicken top of mind is no easy feat.


During the winter holidays in the United States, families and friends gather around the fire, often using man-made fire logs to make starting a fire easier. To infiltrate homes and provoke cravings for our chicken, we took advantage of this seasonal tradition. We channeled the Colonel’s inventive spirit and went straight for the heart of the home - the fireplace - creating the world’s first chicken-scented firelog based on Harland’s 80-year-old recipe. After all, when you smell fried chicken, what do you want to eat? Fried chicken.


KFC is famous for the Colonel’s secret recipe, yet younger generations are not as familiar with KFC Original Recipe Chicken. They’re also not as interested in the fried chicken brand’s traditional family-sized “buckets”, gravitating toward off-the-bone meals like chicken tenders and sandwiches. Keeping KFC’s original recipe fresh in young consumers’ minds means keeping the brand at the forefront of the media. But how do you make news about an almost 80-year-old recipe? We discovered a number of trends that suggested the holidays – and how people celebrate them – are in a state of evolution: from dressing up their dogs on Halloween to inventing entirely new holidays like Friendsgiving. In other words, people are hacking the holidays. To draw attention to the Colonel’s original recipe, we decided to join in with a unique and distinctly KFC holiday hack of our own - the 11 Herbs & Spices Firelog.


To bring the fire log idea to life, we first partnered with a fragrance house, Ungerer & Company, to replicate KFC’s secret 11 herbs & Spices recipe as a scent. Then, we enlisted one of the top fire log brands, Enviro-Log, to manufacture the logs using this scent. Through an iterative process of research and development, we created the 11 Herbs & Spices Firelog, which were sold for $18.99 per log) via a dedicated, direct-to-consumer microsite at


The KFC Firelog announcement spread like fire, capturing the country’s attention during the busy holiday season. Despite the cluttered media environment, we earned more than 1.5 billion impressions and over 200 million social impressions - an estimated value of $20 million - and exceeded our impression goals by 400 percent. Beyond impressions, the campaign also induced runaway demand for the Firelog, with 1400 Firelogs selling out in just 3 hours. The logs immediately started re-selling on eBay for as much as $250 (a 1000% markup) and even inspiring some fans to create YouTube tutorials for homemade DIY 11 Herbs & Spices Firelog. The story went everywhere, from morning news to late-night talk show, ultimately generating a staggering 1180 broadcast segments and 1892 articles in the United States and abroad - including Jimmy Kimmel, Seth Myers, ESPN, Washington Post, USA Today, Buzzfeed, Food & Wine and many more - making KFC

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