El Pollo Loco conducts contest in response to KFC giveaway

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Chicken fast-food franchise El Pollo Loco conducted a 24-hour-long contest on October 26 that gave one customer free chicken for a year.

The promotion was developed on short notice after the company heard about rival KFC's plans to give consumers a free piece of chicken the same day, said Julie Weeks, VP of communications at El Pollo Loco.

“When we saw KFC was doing its third free chicken giveaway, we knew consumers were going to ask what we were going to do in response,” she said. “The sweepstakes was a great way to reward our loyal and passionate customers, who already follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and also a way to gain more followers.”

Consumers could enter the contest by writing on the wall of El Pollo Loco's Facebook fan page or writing a Twitter @reply to @ElPolloLocoInc explaining why flame-grilled chicken is better than oven-grilled chicken. El Pollo Loco contends that KFC uses ovens to grill its chicken.

The winner, chosen October 27, received 52 free two-piece meal certificates. Weeks said the company received more than 800 entries in the 24-hour period.

The sweepstakes was developed internally, without the help of an agency.

El Pollo Loco has made KFC a target of its campaigns on various occasions. It launched the “Taste the Fire” campaign in April, in which it challenged KFC to a public taste test and set up a toll-free number that KFC officials could call to accept the challenge.

A month later, Oprah Winfrey promoted a free grilled chicken meal at KFC on her show, and the company delayed the promotion after too many people tried to redeem coupons. El Pollo Loco also took note that KFC's coupon explicitly stated that it wasn't valid on Mother's Day. On May 10, El Pollo Loco honored KFC's coupons and launched ads asking, “What does KFC have against moms?”

El Pollo Loco has its own YouTube Channel, documenting the Taste the Fire campaign ads.

A call to KFC was not immediately returned.

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