Few fast-chains are masters in the command of social media like KFC. A look at their Twitter page can be either hilarious or interesting at given times. There was the event back in July where the chain collaborated with a high-altitude balloon firm to send a KFC Zinger chicken sandwich up into space. This was the culmination of a marketing campaign from earlier still – last April – that saw Rob Lowe step into the shoes of portraying Colonel Sanders. Their twitter post on this stunt was pretty overt, but KFC can also do some subtle shout-outs. A Twitter poster noticed something about the accounts that the global chain followed, and his observation, as well as KFC’s page itself, went completely viral.

‘Herbs’ and ‘Spices’

As it goes, the official Twitter page for KFC is followed by no less than 1.42 million people. But all this time the number of accounts it has followed remained fixed at eleven. Another user, Edge (@edgette22), decided to have a look at the pages followed by the fast-food chain, and then shared his discovery on his own account last Thursday, October 19. So, KFC’s Twitter follows six persons with the first name Herb (at least as listed on the social media platform), and then the individual pages of all five members of 1990s British girl group the Spice Girls.

In case it has not clicked for you just yet, KFC is following six Herbs and the five Spice Girls for a total of eleven Twitter accounts.

Yes, the whole thing is a play on the cornerstone of the global brand’s signature finger-licking good fried chicken. It refers of course to the “original recipe” marinade developed by founder Colonel Harland Sanders in the 1940s and was the foundation of his franchising empire in the fifties. Edge’s tweet generated a social media storm over the weekend and became a trending topic.

Viral post

The Twitter post by Edge revealing KFC’s play on followed accounts with its own branding has since gone viral, with no less than 700,000 likes, over 300,000 re-tweets and more than 4,000 comments. Commentators have indeed declared this to be one of the best utilization of social media that KFC has conceptualized. Even fellow fast-food franchise and Twitter heavyweight Wendy's was impressed.

A spokesperson of the fast-food giant claims that the eleven pages followed were added in last month, September 18. That meant that it took followers of KFC’s Twitter account about a month to figure.

Truth be told, the post by Edge was not actually the first time the meme was discovered. It was simply the one that got the most attention on social media. Deseret News staff writer Herb Scribner, one of the “secret Herbs” followed by KFC, had noticed the pattern with him and the Spice Girls on the day it was first done on Twitter, but his post reactions were small in comparison.