Why KFC's Double Down "Sandwich" Is Shameless Linkbait

August 17, 2016

I know this is an Internet marketing blog and I'm supposed to be talking about search industry news, but the biggest news this week in any industry, truly, was the launch of the new Double Down sandwich from KFC. It seemed to be all anyone was talking/blogging about. But I'm here to show you why there's nothing noteworthy about this news—it's just shameless, attention-grabbing linkbait.

KFC Double Down

If They Weren't Calling It a Sandwich, It Would Be No Big Deal

First of all, as pointed out on the food blog Serious Eats, the Double Down is basically chicken cordon bleu. Chicken cordon bleu is breaded chicken stuffed with cheese and ham; the Double Down is fried (or "grilled") chicken stuffed with cheese and bacon. The main differences are the fact that the chicken doesn't completely envelop the "stuffing" in the Double Down, as well as the presence of a "special sauce." Also, the fact that they present it in a paper wrapper and suggest that you eat it with your hands. Which seems a bit messy, but people eat regular fried chicken with their hands, so we've clearly come to grips as a nation with greasy fingers.

It's Not Really That Unhealthy

The Huffington Post, always a model of journalistic integrity, "reports": "In the midst of a staggering obesity epidemic in the US, KFC has doubled down on a high-calorie menu choice." (Emphases mine.) But the Double Down is not particularly high-calorie compared to, well, sandwiches. Depending on whether you order it grilled or fried, it clocks in between 400 and 600 calories, which is a totally reasonable lunch. Someone on a 1,500-calorie-per-day diet, which most people would lose weight on, could eat three of these per day no problem. For contrast, one turkey club sandwich from Au Bon Pain has 700 calories. I don't recall any media brouhahas over that one.

The irony is that if this sandwich came on a bun, no one would think anything of it. Such are the illogical conceptions of healthy eating that pervade in America: "Two piece of fried chicken with cheese! That's insane! Maybe if you added a big hunk of doughy, processed white bread! Phew. That's better."

They've Giving You Less, Not More

You gotta hand it to KFC. They managed to make eating two pieces of boneless chicken seem like the height of decadence. In essence, they are removing a key component of the sandwich, but making you feel like you've gained something. Can it be long before we see copycat items on fast-food menus everywhere?

  • Domino's Double Down Pizza: It's Real! So much sauce, cheese and pepperoni in a cup, there's no room for the crust!
  • New from Taco Bell: The Double Down Taco! So little shell, you have to eat it with a fork!


Web Marketing Highlights This Week

In other news …

On TechCrunch, Paul Carr says he's worried that the iPad will kill the Kindle and reading too: "Soon though, especially as more and more commuter friendly apps appear on the iPad and publishers push out more video content to further distract us from the need to read for prolonged periods, the idea of carrying a book will go back to seeming unnecessary. And at that point the iPad will indeed have killed the Kindle. But, for millions of casual readers, it will also have killed something far more valuable: the experience of reading for pleasure."

Google's Eric Schmidt is a master of saying the wrong thing. Nathania Johnson chronicles his latest foot-eating, wherein he kissed up to newspaper editors by slamming bloggers.

Over at Outspoken Media, Rae Hoffman explains how she became a Foursquare convert and offers some suggestions for further improvement. Also check out Lisa Barone's post on quick SEO tricks to apply to post after it goes hot.

Geordie on the PPC Blog illustrates the value of using first-person quotes in your PPC ad text.

Jen at PPC Hero explains the nitty-gritty of using URL tracking parameters to get more out of analytics.

Finally, check out Marty Weintraub's in-depth post on finding a killer, keyword-targeted title for your blog post.

Have a great weekend.

Elisa Gabbert

Elisa Gabbert

Elisa Gabbert is WordStream's Director of Content and SEO. Likes include wine, karaoke, poker, ping-pong, perfume, and poetry.

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