In an effort to help cities with financial struggles pay for needed fire safety repairs and improvements, Kentucky Fried Chicken unveiled an advertising campaign bringing the brand's iconic logo to neighborhood fire hydrants and extinguishers in public buildings.
As part of KFC's month-long effort, which began Tuesday, the City of Brazil received $2,500 and Indianapolis received $5,000 for fire safety improvements. KFC plans to e-mail a national network of mayors to find three more cities to participate in the $15,000 effort.
Mayor Ann Bradshaw and Brazil Assistant Supervisor of Water Distribution Stoney Lalen -- who raised concerns about the condition of fire hydrants in the city -- were both excited to receive some help to kick start the city's effort to replace the 85 hydrants currently out of service.
"We are grateful to be partnering with KFC in the effort to promote fire safety," Bradshaw said about the first-of-its-kind advertising program, which is also being used to launch KFC's new Fiery Grilled Wings.
Lalen told The Brazil Times the $2,500 is enough to replace one hydrant, but the city is continuing to look into other funding possibilities to replace and repair more.
"Umbaugh and Associates is currently crunching numbers to find options to provide the city additional funding to help get all the hydrants in good working condition," he said.
The KFC logo and chicken bucket is slated to be placed on three hydrants in Brazil -- one apiece near the Clay County Courthouse, Brazil Post Office and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1127 -- and any new fire equipment purchased with the funding.
"We're thinking about moving the brand around to different hydrants along United States 40 during the month so it is spread around more of the city," Lalen said.
This is the second-straight year KFC has utilized alternative advertising means to assist struggling cities while promoting its products. In Spring 2009, KFC spent approximately $16,000 to fix more than 1,500 potholes in four cities in Kansas, Kentucky and Ohio, which were branded with a large, non-permanent chalk stencil which read, "Re-Freshed by KFC."
On Tuesday, KFC representatives were on hand in front of the Clay County Courthouse as "Colonel Sanders" look-alike Bob Thompson proclaimed, "Fiery Grilled Wings to the Rescue."
"With January ranking as the peak month for residential fires, we couldn't think of a better way to launch our new KFC Fiery Grilled Wings than supporting local fire departments nationwide," KFC Executive Vice President of Marketing an Food Innovation Javier Benito said in a press release. "We are always looking for outside-the-bucket marketing ideas. Much like our 'Re-Freshed by KFC' potholes that promoted our always fresh chicken, this partnership was tailor-made for our new Fiery Grilled Wings."
KFC approached Brazil officials after reading a December 2009 article in The Brazil Times about the status of the hydrants.
Bradshaw added the city is continuing to seek other alternative funding sources, such as grants, to help bring more monies to the city, which has an extremely tight budget.
"We are doing research into other programs similar to the one we are doing now with KFC, along with trying to find more grants to complete other projects that need to be completed," she said. "We had good luck last year in getting the Neighborhood Stabilization Program and Homeowner Rehabilitation Program grants, and we are hoping to find more in the upcoming years."