Sunday 21 April 2013

How 'Max' is the new KFC Zinger Double Down Max?

Okay, you just produced the biggest superhero movie in the world ever. Only Avatar and Titanic earned more money than The Avengers.

So how do you follow up?

Well, you carefully and methodically rebuild.

First, you release Iron Man 3 (opening in Singapore on Thursday). Then Thor: The Dark World will be released later this year. Captain America: The Winter Soldier comes out next year.

All this will culminate in the second Avengers movie to be released two years from now.

Okay, you just released the Zinger Double Down in Singapore last year to coincide with the first Avengers movie, calling the sandwich “the mightiest burger ever assembled”.

So how do you follow up?

Well, you add a hash brown and the word “Max” and voila! You have the KFC Zinger Double Down Max. Earth is saved once again.

Clearly, creating a sequel to a superburger is a little less complex than creating a sequel to a superhero ensemble movie.

Still, it must have been a challenge for KFC to produce a worthy successor to last year's Double Down.

In the first place, KFC painted itself into a copywriting corner with the tagline: “The mightiest burger ever assembled”.

Now you can’t say: “You know how we called last year’s burger the mightiest burger ever assembled? Well, this year’s burger is actually mightier than that.”

If you do that, then no one will believe any advertising copy ever again.

I, for one, truly believed the original Zinger Double Down was the mightiest burger ever assembled. Yes, even mightier than Burger King’s four-beef-patty Quad Stacker of 2008.

This year’s Double Down tagline is the more modest and somewhat less mighty “The hero-sized burger for hero-sized appetites”.

Detractors may argue that the bunless burger is less a hero and more a villain to your digestive system.

In the second place, last year, KFC had the biggest superhero movie in the world ever to piggyback its promotion on. This year, KFC has Iron Man 3.

Sure, I like Iron Man as much as the next superhero movie geek, but ultimately, Iron Man is just one Avenger.

Last year, I collected all four KFC Avengers toys: Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and the Hulk.

This year, there’s not even a KFC Iron Man toy. What is the world coming to?

As if to compensate, KFC couldn’t just re-launch the Zinger Double Down as it was. The company had to add a hash brown and call it Zinger Double Down Max.

This is practically heresy to a Double Down purist like me, but hey, I’m willing to go along to get along.

But since KFC has already introduced “foreign talent” (I’m looking at you, hash brown) into the burger, why not go all the way?

I mean, assuming that Max is short for “maximum” (and not “maxi-pad”), is just adding a hash brown really the “max” that KFC can go with the Zinger Double Down Max?

So just as there are different versions of the Iron Man suit, I decided to create my own variations of the Zinger Double Down Max.

But there are two rules:

Only ingredients from existing KFC menu items can be used. So no bak kwa or egg prata.

No buns.

So suit up and check out my maxed-out versions of the Zinger Double Down Max. Forget Iron Man. You’re going to need an iron stomach

Lets start with the Zinger Double Down Max, the base from which the other versions are built. It’s made of hash brown, turkey bacon, sliced cheese and mayonnaise between two Zinger fillets.

The hash brown has been a controversial addition with some people complaining that it adds more oil to an already oily mess.

I’m more concerned that the hash brown adds carbs, which goes against the spirit of a bunless burger.

But then if you’re going to eat the Double Down, extra carbs should be the last thing you worry about. Life's too short. And even shorter after eating this burger.

Since the hash brown is from the KFC breakfast menu, why not continue with the breakfast theme by adding a waffle and blueberry pancake? Syrup is optional.

You’ll love the way the softness and sweetness of the waffle and the pancake play with the crispiness and spicy savoriness of the Zinger fillets in your mouth. The blueberries also give it an extra kick.

Definitely a breakfast for heroes, the Zinger Double Down Breakfast Max is easily my favorite of the bunch.

I left out the scrambled eggs because it was too messy. I wish I could add the perfectly shaped fried egg from McDonald’s Egg McMuffin, but that would break the first rule.

Seafood fan? Try my Zinger Double Down Surf ‘N’ Turf Max, created with the fish fillet from the Fish Ole Burger plus two Shrimp Stars and two Fish Donuts from the Snacker menu.

Surprisingly, what brings this combo together is the dill sauce that I couldn’t scrape off the fish fillet. Tangy.

If only there were an Aquaman movie, this would be the perfect cross-promo item. But then Aquaman is DC and the Avengers are Marvel, so that might not work.

For the chicken purist who thinks that two Zinger fillets just aren’t enough chicken, my Zinger Double Down Chix Max also includes the roasted chicken fillet from the Roasta Burger and the mushroom-topped chicken fillet from the Shrooms Burger.

I left out the Original Recipe chicken fillet from the O.R. Fillet Burger because that seems too repetitive even for me. And the Popcorn Chicken isn't correctly shaped for a sandwich.

Speaking of repetitive, the Zinger Double Double Down Max is for the purist’s purist. It’s the Zinger Double Down Max inside another Zinger Double Down Max. Did I just blow your mind?

I considered calling it the Zinger Double Down Max Squared, but then I realised how much I enjoyed saying Zinger Double Double Down Max

I look forward to next year’s KFC-superhero movie cross-promo – if I live that long.

- Published in The New Paper, 21 April 2013

UPDATE: The next year, the KFC Double Down promo was a World Cup tie-in, not a superhero movie cross-promo, although some may consider Cristiano Ronaldo a football superhero.