KFC launches ‘hilarious’ football game on Instagram

Lucy Handley, special to CNBC

Instagram might be thought of as primarily a place for pictures, clips and captions, but brands are now experimenting with using the Facebook-owned social media platform as a new way of gaming.

KFC is to launch "Colonel Saunders' Kentucky Fried Chicken Football Challenge," where Instagrammers can "play" on an American Football field across different animations on the social media platform. The game tags Instagram accounts, which players can click on to reach a new stage.

It's also a way for the brand to get more followers and likes without having to pay for advertising or sponsored posts.

George Felix, director of advertising for KFC US said in an emailed statement: "As the football season comes to an end, we wanted to create a unique gaming experience that combines everyone's love of football, fried chicken and social media. The Kentucky Fried Football Frenzy utilizes Instagram's native features in a creative and hilarious way that hopefully entertains fans for hours on end."

KFC has been posting about the NFL season since it kicked off in September, and has been working with agency Wieden + Kennedy on the Instagram football game since fall 2016. It has previously used its @KFC Instagram account to highlight news of the "World's first inflatable KFC franchise" and showed a woman being hugged by a giant piece of fried chicken on New Year's Day.

While Instagram isn't a traditional gaming platform, other brands have used it to encourage interaction from followers. Reebok used it to get people to "Hunt for the pump" in 2015, where users were invited to like and follow a tag on certain images to be in with the chance of winning a pair of ZPump trainers.

KFC did not give specific details of how it would measure the success of the football initiative, but a spokesperson told CNBC via email: "We love to do innovative, unexpected things on platforms that our fans enjoy, like Instagram. Success to us is using platforms (in this case Instagram) in unique ways that engage our fans where they are."

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