Oprah Offers KFC Coupon, Internet Abuzz

May 6, 2009 10:06am

ABC News’ Russell Goldman reports: Oprah Winfrey, whose endorsements have turned little-known books into best sellers and helped a little-known senator become the president, is putting her seal of approval on KFC’s newest menu item – grilled chicken. A coupon available exclusively through the talk-show host’s Web site, oprah.com, had been searched for so frequently on the Internet that “Oprah Winfrey KFC coupons” was the fifth most searched item on Google Trends by Wednesday afternoon, hours after being posted. “KFC locations” and “Unthink KFC,” the name of the grilled chicken promotion, rounded off the site’s top 10 most searched terms. Interest in the coupons even made it to France where one Web Site described the frenzy as “un buzz aux States.” KFC, formerly known as Kentucky Fried Chicken and a subsidiary of Yum Brands, launched the grilled chicken line two weeks ago and has offered free samples in some participating locations. Rick Maynard, a KFC spokesman, said the reason the company sought out Winfrey to promote the product was “pretty self explanatory. She’s got a huge audience who trust her.” The details of the deal KFC and Winfrey worked out to offer the coupons, Maynard said, were confidential. Oprah announced the promotion during her show on Tuesday. Harpo, Winfrey’s production company, would not further comment on the deal. The downloadable coupon, good only from Wednesday morning to Thursday at noon, allows holders to receive”two pieces of grilled chicken, two individual sides and a biscuit.” Some have called Winfrey’s impact on brands she endorses the “O Factor,” and small companies whose products make the media magnate’s annual Favorite Things list have seen their sales skyrocket overnight. Oprah has made no secret of struggling with her weight and dieting. KFC is promoting the new line as a healthy alternative to its traditional fried chicken. An Original Recipe fried chicken breast is 400 calories, versus 119 for the grilled breast, according to the KFC website.

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