KFC Launches 'Innovations Lab' to Crowdfund Its Most Ridiculous Ideas Yet

Want them to make a KFC Hot Tub? Donate today

It's not easy to bring absurd products to life. Shit gets expensive. 

So, KFC is shifting the burden—in a nice way—to consumers by launching the KFC Innovations Lab, an Indiegogo site that asks for crowdfunding donations to get more "innovative" (aka, ridiculous) KFC-branded products into production. 

The campaign, dreamed up by Wieden + Kennedy Portland, begins with five products that you can support. They include a hot tub that looks like a KFC bucket; a cardboard KFC picnic table; and a cane that doubles as a TV remote control. 

KFC Innovations Lab

Each product has a different fundraising goal, ranging from about $10,000 (for a location-tracking necktie) to more than $2.2 million (to stage a "Colonel on Ice" ice-dancing show). Donations don't earn you any equity in the products if they eventually get made, but you can get KFC swag (like puffy stickers or sweatshirts) for donations of a certain level. (If the products are never made, you'll get your money refunded.) 

Below, check out descriptions and videos for all five products: 

Kentucky Fried Hot Tub

• Fundraising goal: $46,683

Introducing a revolution in hot tub technology—a hot tub that looks like a KFC bucket. This giant bucket features wood-fired thermosyphoning heating technology, the capacity for five fried chicken-loving people, and a full 360 degrees of Kentucky Fried Chicken branding.

KFC Innovations Lab | Kentucky Fried Hot Tub

Colonel on Ice

• Fundraising goal: $2,206,750

For years people have been inspired by the story of how Colonel Harland Sanders went from a sixth grade drop out to the founder of a fried chicken empire. So, KFC will tell the story in a way that has captivated the world—by spinning around on ice.

KFC Innovations Lab | Colonel on Ice

Little Colonel Locator

• Fundraising goal: $10,050

The newest innovation in Colonel-approved fashion, the Little Colonel Locator combines fashionable neckwear with the latest in location-tracking technology. The world's first location-tracking necktie will help you find anyone or anything that's wearing this tie—as long as they're within 100 feet of your smartphone. 

KFC Innovations Lab | Little Colonel Locator

Smart Cane Remote

• Fundraising goal: $195,052

Available for anyone who doesn't want to stand up and turn the television dial. The Smart Cane Remote combines the best of both products—smart remotes and canes—into one product that is stylish, functional and totally new. 

KFC Innovations Lab | Smart Cane Remote

Picnic with the Colonel

• Fundraising goal: $32,248

The greatest development in picnicking technology that's made out of cardboard. This kit includes a pop-up table and life-size cardboard Colonel to hold a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken (sold separately at KFC restaurants nationwide). Never again will you have to enjoy your $20 Fill Up while sitting on a flimsy picnic blanket.

KFC Innovations Lab | Picnic with the Colonel

Like so much KFC advertising from W+K, this stunt embraces a marketing trend while at the same time poking fun at it. And as usual, they pull it off nicely—mostly thanks to the obsessive level of detail and craft on display. 

"KFC was founded with the spirit of innovation—the Colonel's patented pressure frying process, bucket packaging, and his secret blend of 11 herbs and spices took the world by storm," Steve Kelly, KFC U.S. director of media and digital marketing, said in a statement. "With the launch of KFC Innovations Lab, non-Colonels can now be part of that process and support important projects such as a hot tub that looks like a bucket of fried chicken, so we can keep focusing on making actual buckets of fried chicken." 

If you actually want these products made, though, you'll have to start opening your wallets a little wider. Two days into the project, the Little Colonel Locator is far and away the most-supported item—but has still only earned about $1,000 in donations so far. 

Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd was editor in chief of the Clio Awards and editor of Muse by Clio from 2018 to 2023.

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