KFC blamed a bot for its Kristallnacht marketing fail in Germany

The fried chicken chain said it has suspended its app notifications while it examines the process
KFC blamed a bot for its Kristallnacht marketing fail in Germany
Image: Carlo Allegri (Reuters)
We may earn a commission from links on this page.

Marketing fails happen—and can usually be traced back to the drawing board where a bad idea got hatched. But sometimes the problem can be blamed on a bot.

That’s what happened after KFC reportedly sent out a phone notification on Nov. 9 telling customers in Germany to “treat themselves” to commemorate Kristallnacht. The event, known as the “Night of Broken Glass, launched a wave of Nazi attacks against Jewish people in Germany.

According to the Jerusalem Post, the push notification said: “It’s memorial day for Kristallnacht! Treat yourself with more tender cheese on your crispy chicken. Now at KFCheese!”

How the rogue KFC bot notification happened

KFC Germany apologized for the notification and told Newsweek that an “automated push notification was accidentally issued to KFC app users in Germany.”

The company explained that it uses “a semi-automated content creation process linked to calendars that include national observances.In this case, the company said, an “internal review process was not followed, resulting in a non-approved notification being shared.”

The incident is a reminder of why humans are still needed in the age of automation. KFC said it has suspended the app notifications while it reviews the process.