Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Opportunity In Potholes

Reading this report about KFC willing to fill pot-holes across America for free (if you don't count their stenciled logo on the patch of re-freshed road) reminded me of my home town in India. In the 80s there were more potholes than road in what used to be then called Calcutta. Things a slightly better now but not a whole lot. Unfortunately, the local businesses did not try and seize these gaping marketing opportunities and fill them up to their advantage.

While as of now not all cities in America are interested in taking up KFC on its offer, given enough pot holes and a crippling lack of resources to fill them, they may sing quite a different tune. KFC is reportedly part of a larger trend :

The magazine Advertising Age reports that the KFC campaign appears to be part of a growing effort by companies to build goodwill. It notes that this past holiday season, Charmin provided a public restroom in Times Square for the third year running. The company has also developed an application for iPhone and BlackBerry that helps consumers find toilets when the need arises. Samsung has installed electrical charging stations in many major airports to help travelers stay connected while in limbo.

While there is some evidence of road divider beautification projects by corporations in India, they have not for the most part got involved in larger public works projects. The ubiquitous pot-holes, political graffiti emblazoned walls and missing manhole covers present a great opportunity - a perfect way to get their foot in the door. It might not take too long even at the rate of one pot-hole at a time to become lord and master of entire roads and bridges not to mention the buzz and good karma earned for the brand.

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