Pepsi wasn’t the only food and beverage corporation that knows how to make smartphone, sort of. Marketing has reached a new level where conventional advertising on mainstream news media and alternative social media isn’t sufficient to catch eyeballs. Special edition products have to be introduced – in limited quantities – so that it would become collectible items.
Kentucky Fried Chicken is making its own smartphone too. The “finger lickin’ good” company, in partnership with Huawei, has announced a limited edition smartphone in celebrating its 30th anniversary of operations in China. Yes, coincidently, US-based KFC and China-based Huawei was founded or established in the same year – 1987.
While Huawei – a telecommunications equipment company best known for its network equipments and smartphones – was founded in 1987 in Shenzhen, KFC opened its first restaurant in Beijing in November 1987. Located a short distance from the Tiananmen Square, little did KFC realize that there would be a bloody Tiananmen Square protests two years later in 1989.
Today, Yum China, the holding company of KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and Little Sheep, has more than 7,500 restaurants across the country. In fact, the brand is so strong that KFC is known as one of the most powerful foreign brands in the entire country. The Chinese might not like the U.S., but when come to food, they simply love KFC fried chicken. And now they get to own a KFC phone.
The special edition red KFC phone is a version of the Huawei Enjoy 7 Plus,which is a mid-range phone that’s only available in limited markets. Under the hood is a 5.5-inch 720p display, a Snapdragon 435 processor, a 12MP camera, 3GB of RAM, and 32GB of storage (expandable to 128GB via MicroSD card), not to mention a 3,020mAh battery and a fingerprint scanner.
The only proof you can offer auction house Sotheby or Christie’s that this is an original KFC limited edition phone is the logo of Colonel Sanders embossed on the back of the device. Announcing the partnership with Huawei on Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter micro-blogging, KFC said only 5,000 units of the limited edition of the phone will be on sale.
But having a laser-etched Colonel Sanders logo isn’t the only goodies on offer. The limited edition model included KFC’s mobile app and 100,000 “K dollars”(virtual credits or digital currency used by KFC in China). It also comes with a KFC-branded music app pre-installed, which lets you create and share playlists at a KFC restaurant – something like a jukebox.
Like most major brands operating in the country, KFC offers mobile payment options, its own app, and even mobile games. Heck, they actually have a restaurant in Shanghai where voice-activated robots were employed to take your orders. Besides chicken, and now smartphone, Yum China also released “finger lickin’ nail” – edible nail polishes that taste like fried chicken last year.
As a rare item collector, you have to fly to China to get the latest finger lickin’ phone though. It’s only available in China, although some might make it to eBay or Alibaba, for bidding. The KFC phones cost 1,099 yuan (US$162; £125.6; RM695) per unit and will be available for sale on the fast food company’s Tmall store from July 13.
That’s cheaper than Pepsi P1 phone introduced 2 years ago in 2015 when it was priced at US$205 a pop. But a genuine collector won’t mind the price difference. After all, they might have in their possession of Batman and Iron Man’s Samsung phone. Previously, Motorola phone was involved in the creation of Star Wars R2D2 edition of the Droid 2.