Oprah, KFC, and Twitter

Recently, Oprah Winfrey decided to join the party that is Twitter. This was only about a week or two after she announced her blog network on the show that talked about the secret life of moms. Still trying to figure out if it was a good thing or not... but anyway... now she's got moms blogging and she is close to a million followers on Twitter.

And not everyone is happy about it.

There are purists that are not too keen on celebrities getting on Twitter. Is it really them or are their handlers tweeting? Why aren't they responding or joining the conversation? Are their follow numbers based on interesting tweets or just their celebrity status. I don't really care either way except that when they make big national announcements, it seems to burden the Twitter servers and things get all wacky for the rest of us. So when this whole Oprah's-buying-everyone-free-grilled-chicken-at-KFC went all wacky, you have to know that Twitter was all over this, neener-neener style. People were weighing in with their opinions of that trending topic... none too favorable. By the end of the week, there were frenzy sightings coming in from all over. Problems reported ranged from customers not being able to download the coupon because ofthe site's high traffic (paybacks) to restaurants not participating in the free meal deal.

For their part in all this nonsense, KFC should be cited for grossly underestimating the power of Oprah and her minions. Not to mention the poor decision to let the store owners decide between facing the angry mobs by not participating, or taking the hit in their bottom lines since they were not being reimbursed for the giveaway. If I was a store owner in this financial crunch time, I wouldn't participate either. No shock that the buzz for Oprah and KFC was largely negative on Twitter.

This whole marketing meltdown is way crazier than the Motrin Moms debacle, which was more of a Tempest in the Twitter Teapot. Outside of the tweets and the blogosphere, not too many moms changed their opinions one way or another about Motrin because they were completely unaware of what had happened. In fact, the "offensive" ad was later viewed by a sampling of moms, of which, only 8% walked away with any negative thoughts. The whole campaign was just a tiny blip on the radar.

But this is Oprah! She IS her brand because her audience feels a personal connection to her. That's likely the same reason she has 950k+ followers on Twitter... an extension of that "personal" (however contrived) connection to her minions.So for Oprah to just not say anything about the KFC sh*t storm on Twitter seems odd to me. I mean, it's not like she got on Twitter to network or make new friends. Let's be real here. It's just another avenue for her to grow her brand... and another step towards world domination, I'm sure of it.

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Do you think Oprah should have said something on Twitter? Even a follow up on questions you might have about the coupons??
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Check out this iReport Chicken Frenzy Video
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