Dynamic Marketing Communiqué

Beese Burger, Slida Stacker, Nug-A-Lot, and more! Know about this not-so-hidden SECRET campaign! [Thursdays: Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing]

September 22, 2022

Miles Everson’s Business Builder Daily speaks to the heart of what great marketers, business leaders, and other professionals need to succeed in advertising, communications, managing their investments, career strategy, and more. 

A Note from Miles Everson:


Welcome to “Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing!” 

Every Thursday, we write about these topics because we believe this marketing strategy is unconventional, engaging, impactful, and easy to execute. Campaigns of this type easily stick to consumers’ minds. 

Today, we’ll feature a brilliant example of guerrilla marketing by a global fast food brand. 

Keep reading to know how this campaign captured the attention of thousands of Australians in 2019 and how this fast food chain used a concept in behavioral psychology to engage with its target market. 

Miles Everson
CEO, MBO Partners
Chairman of the Advisory Board, The I Institute

Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing 

Are you familiar with the term, “IKEA Effect?” 

It’s a concept in behavioral psychology that states humans tend to overvalue things they worked hard for or heavily invested in. 

For example: Some people put more value into objects they themselves craft or assemble (e.g. IKEA furniture) than those that come preassembled. 

This shows while it’s true people will work hard to obtain something of value, there’s also a notion that working hard can make a specific thing or outcome more valuable. 

… and while humans exert effort for better outcomes, they sometimes view those same outcomes as more rewarding if more effort was used to attain them. 

Let’s take a look at how one fast food brand showed effort can also be valuable and rewarding in its own right! 

A Not-So-SECRET Strategy to Drive Up Usage for A Mobile App 

In today’s business landscape, many fast food brands are finding their digital footing and navigating their way through the online world. 

KFC is one of these brands… 

Photo from SquareMeal

However, one of the challenges the brand faces in an increasingly competitive digital market is the need to drive up acquisitions and usage for its mobile app. 

While many Quick Service Restaurants (QSRs) use freebies and epic discounts to recruit app users, KFC knows the success of this strategy is not what it seems. In fact, Silicon Valley analyst Andrew Chen states 77% of downloaded apps are uninstalled within 3 days. 

That’s a HUGE negative percentage! 

So, in March 2019, KFC challenged itself to get consumers to genuinely engage with its mobile app and sustain that engagement for a long time. The brand, together with marketing agency Ogilvy Australia, did this through… 

The “Secret Menu” campaign! 

KFC discovered its crews love “hacking” the menu to experiment and create new products. To acknowledge its employees’ creativity, the brand stored these delicious creations in a “Secret Menu” page deep within the mobile app. 

Here’s the twist: KFC told no one about its “Secret Menu” page on its app. Instead of launching a big campaign and telling the whole world about it, the brand just waited until someone discovered the “Secret Menu.” 

The only clue left on the app? 

A new Colonel Sanders icon hiding in the menu, and only eagle-eyed users with attention to details were able to notice it! 

One month later, someone finally figured out the hidden page on the KFC app! How? 

That person kept pulling down the home page of the app, hoping that with every refresh, he’ll discover a new promo or deal from KFC. 

His idea worked, though. When he pulled down and held the screen for 11 seconds (referencing KFC’s 11 herbs and spices), he unlocked KFC’s “Secret Menu!” Woohoo! 

This person immediately shared his experience with his friends… and his friends also shared their own experiences with other peers… and the domino effect went on. 

Soon, the KFC app was on various news feeds and front pages across Australian news websites. What’s more? 

The buzz happened without KFC spending money for paid media! All that talk started with the first person who discovered the “Secret Menu” page on the app and eventually, the majority of the Australian population knew about the campaign because of word of mouth

Wait! That’s not all that there was to the campaign. 

The digital guerrilla marketing strategy lasted until August 2019. Whenever KFC updated its app, it made the “Secret Menu” harder to find. 

… and every time a customer unlocked the hidden item, news about it spread and resulted in another mass coverage across Australia. 

Was KFC’s “Secret Menu” campaign effective? 

The harder it got to find the “Secret Menu,” the more excited and hyped up customers were. It was as if only those with enough determination to find the hidden item within the app deserved to enjoy that meal. 

Talk about the “IKEA effect” in KFC’s digital guerrilla marketing campaign! 

These were the results of the strategy: 

  • From March 2019 to August 2019, the number of downloads of the KFC app increased by 111%. 
  • The KFC app’s retention rate (the number of users still using the app after a given period of time) grew by 61% during the campaign. Consumers kept the app installed on their mobile devices for an average of 9 months. 
  • KFC’s sales during the entire campaign period increased by 77%. 
  • The “Secret Menu” campaign garnered media coverage from Australian news outlets like NT News, The Cairns Post, The Rock, Herald Sun, The Chronicle, The Daily Telegraph, 7News, and more. 
  • The “Secret Menu” campaign bagged the following awards:
  •     –    2 Wood Pencils and 2 Shortlists at the 2021 D&AD Awards
        –    Silver Award at the 2020 CLIO Awards
        –    Bronze Spikes Award at the 2021 Spikes Asia Awards

Clearly, these figures and awards show KFC’s marketing campaign was effective in establishing an online presence, capturing Australian consumers’ attention, and getting them to interact with the brand online. 

A round of applause for KFC and Ogilvy Australia! 


Conventional wisdom states the entire customer journey and online experience should be as frictionless as possible—meaning, everything in your brand’s mobile app must be easily accessible. 

However, we can see that in the case of KFC, that’s not what happened. 

Instead of making its app’s customer experience frictionless, the brand did the opposite and hid a hard-to-find “Secret Menu” deep within the app, leaving a single clue that only the naturally curious would notice. 

This strategy might not work so well for other brands… but for KFC, the proper approach and execution of the tactic led to incredible media coverage, an astounding amount of KFC app downloads, and more importantly, sales. 

There’s another factor that helped KFC achieve marketing success: Word of mouth

With the excitement brought about by being able to discover a “Secret Menu” hidden deep within the app, online users talked about their experiences with their peers and encouraged them to download the KFC app too. 

The result? 

Customers did all the talking—KFC didn’t even have to try hard and spend money to get people to talk about its campaign! It all happened organically because of the element of excitement AND the “IKEA effect.” 

We hope KFC’s “Secret Menu” campaign helped you come up with a new creative idea for your next marketing strategy! 

Go and think outside of the box! Sometimes, it pays to have an unconventional tactic when promoting your brand. This not only makes your offerings known but also leaves a lasting impression on your target market. 

Stay tuned for more exciting guerrilla marketing features in the coming weeks! 

(This article is from The Business Builder Daily, a newsletter by The I Institute in collaboration with MBO Partners.) 

About The Dynamic Marketing Communiqué’s
“Thursdays: Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing”

Jay Conrad Levinson (1984) said that Guerrilla Marketing “works because it’s simple to appreciate, easy to execute, and inexpensive.”

Guerrilla Marketing is unconventional.

Looking beyond the traditional ways of advertising, marketers, and advertisers need to spice things up in order for their brand to have campaigns that not only make an impact but also stick to their target market’s mind.

Guerrilla Marketing usually aims to have direct contact with consumers.

This type of direct contact should spark an emotional reaction that leads to consumers effectively remembering the brand.

It’s about making a big impression and making that impression last a long time (if not forever).

Guerrilla Marketing can be inexpensive.

The effect of this is being able to create a buzz around the brand, and the strategy used to market it. Almost everything is passed around through word-of-mouth.

Word-of-mouth is one of the greatest outcomes and it usually doesn’t cost anything.

This is every business’ or brand’s dream!

Every Thursday, we publish tips, examples, and other useful content on unconventional ways of marketing and promotion.

Learn more about how to grab your target market’s attention and make an amazing first and lasting impression without having to spend a lot of money.

Businesses don’t really need to spend much for a guerrilla campaign. You do not need a big budget to be successful. You just need creativity and a good imagination.

Hope you’ve found this week’s guerrilla marketing insight interesting and helpful.

Stay tuned for next Thursday’s Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing!


Kyle Yu 
Head of Marketing 
Valens Dynamic Marketing Capabilities 
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