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The recent KFC customer assault fiasco has highlighted, among other things, the lack of good service culture, the effects of poorly-implemented CRM initiatives, the pitfalls of low emphasis on brand training, the overwhelming viral impact of negative press, and, for one brand, the opportunity to hit below the belt or punch beyond its weight, depending on your perspective.

Yes, we’re talking about the series of Nando’s advertisement that’s been making the rounds since Kung-Fu Chicken began trending. From reassuring consumers that Nando’s is about “putting a smile on your face, instead of a fist”, to warning us that “Oil is Risky Business” and that it’s best to take doctors’ advice to “Keep Off Fried Chicken”, the brand, which has long been associated with irreverent, sometimes controversial communications, has put in a couple of well-placed jabs; but to what effect?

Has the brand gained fans for (indirectly) flooring a bigger competitor, or alienated consumers for kicking an opponent when he’s (or rather, it’s) down?
Did it do the right thing by raining down blows when its rival’s flaws were revealed, or would it have made a stronger impact by pulling its punches until the perfect moment presented itself?
Will it strengthen its standing in the long term by playing dirty, or would chickening out and giving a good, clean fight have worked better?

From the Cola Wars in the 80s to the three-way sports brand bash-up in the 90s and the ongoing PC vs Apple battle, strong brands in the same category have sometimes crossed the line in their struggle for supremacy.

What would you do in a situation like this? Is it in your brand’s nature to take the offensive (sometimes, by being offensive) or does it serve your position better to show restraint, even when your competitor’s guard is down?

Whichever stance you adopt, knock yourself out. Or not.

How would your brand participate in the golden age of the geek?

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