KFC x Pizza Hut collaboration goes viral

By Nick Hall | 06 Feb 2020 View comments

An innovative new product roll out from two fast food giants has captured worldwide attention. A social media post on Monday confirmed a brand-new KFC x Pizza Hut collaboration, sending the internet into meltdown.

The latest popcorn chicken pizza pairs the finger-licking crunch of KFC’s famous chicken bites with Pizza Hut’s stretchy golden mozzarella, layered over a gravy base and topped with sweet corn.

Social media labelled the new menu item as the ultimate hangover cure, but its cultural impact wasn’t truly realised until Monday afternoon.

According to reports, customers ordered just under 20,000 KFC x Pizza Hut pizzas on Monday alone, with the snack introduced to celebrate National Pizza Day in the UK.

The popcorn chicken pizza is available across the region via Pizza Hut Delivery from February 3 to 16, and is included as an option for all large pizza deals. However, Aussie fans are yet to see the product launch Down Under.

KFC x Pizza Hut

As strange as it sounds, the latest KFC x Pizza Hut collaboration isn’t the first time the two fast food icons have joined forces.

Both housed under the YUM! Brands International banner, the two chains previously collaborated on ‘The Gravy Supreme’, a Pizza Hut cheesy bites crust, KFC gravy based, calorie-busting collaboration that sparked controversy online.

The new KFC x Pizza Hut popcorn pizza, while certainly an aesthetic improvement, is drawing similar critiques, mainly due to its sweetcorn topping.

On social media one user wrote “Don’t get the big deal with KFC gravy and I certainly wouldn’t like it as a pizza base. Just weird!!”

“What kind of animals have sweetcorn on a pizza?” another wrote.

Regardless of pizza preferences, the campaign appears to be working. Since images of the pizza first appeared on KFC’s Facebook page, interest has been steadily flowing. At present, the post has over 197,000 comments and over 30,000 shares, making it one of the company’s biggest updates worldwide.

But it should come as no surprise.

Fast food collaborations

Collaborations between fast food chains have steadily grown in popularity over the past few years. Rather than competing, many chains have seen the value in joining forces, developing significant inroads with traditionally cautious consumers.

It’s become common place in the US, with chains such as Burger King co-branding with Cinnabon to sell ‘minibons’ over the counter.

Here in Australia, fast food co-branding has yet to take off, however some innovative franchise brands may be working to change that.

Earlier this year, Aussie restaurant franchise Belles Hot Chicken unveiled a partnership with US-based snack brand Cheetos, culminating in the release of a full-scale limited edition menu.

The co-branding was the perfect blend of marketing and menu innovation. Belles Hot Chicken, famous for its spicy wings and tenders drew on the iconic Flamin’ Hot Cheetos product for a flavour hit.

The collaboration drew international acclaim, with Belles Hot Chicken receiving hundreds of comments and shares via social media, however, it was nothing compared to the latest KFC x Pizza Hut viral sensation.

Whether it’s a winning combination for consumer, or just clever marketing tactic, the new collaboration is delivering major returns for the two brands, posing an interesting question for other franchise chains.

As brands increasingly turn towards menu innovation to gain a competitive edge in the tight fast food landscape, could the lure of co-branding prove to be a viable avenue for meaningful growth?