Some insiders in China have raised questions over KFC's 'Pocket Fried Chicken Shop' campaign after the work added to its many award wins, including at Cannes Lions, with the Grand Effie for Greater China last week.
The complaints center around an earlier "Pocket Café" initiative launched by a brand called CoffeeBox.
CoffeeBox is a Chinese online coffee brand established in 2014. The brand officially launched its "Pocket Café" applet on WeChat on August 1, 2018, earlier than KFC's 'Pocket Fried Chicken Shop', which first appeared in November 2018. People familiar with the matter said the coffee brand's project was made in-house. Both projects have to do with users creating their own ecommerce shop and then sharing it with friends.
On the other hand, an industry insider told Campaign China that they didn't see the ‘Pocket Café’ campaign when it was launched, but did see the KFC work. "Good work still needs good luck to become a winner," this person commented. Another industry insider observed that “the effectiveness of the ‘Pocket Fried Chicken Shop’ is not in doubt, adding that “sales growth is more important than industry communication".
Another person in the industry said that “there are similarities in creativity” between the two projects. "If it is a creative award, I think it should not be the grand prize," this person said. "But since it is an effectiveness award, it is also a reasonable choice." This person also said CoffeeBox project was not the first instance of the idea; he believes he saw something similar on Weibo eight years ago.
"There is no absolute fairness, and the judging sometimes is subjective," this source said.
Campaign China contacted the Effie Greater China organisers for comment, but has not received a response as of publication time.