Comedian Norm MacDonald is now the new(est) face of KFC mascot Colonel Sanders, appearing in a new commercial that just began airing this week, MSN is reporting.
In a press release, KFC’s chief marketing officer Kevin Hochman, with tongue planted firmly in cheek, explained why Norm MacDonald got the job.
“Other than not quite looking like him, his voice being different, and his inability to cook the world’s best chicken, we thought Norm was the perfect choice to play the Real Colonel. I think the fans will agree.”
What’s not clear is why Darrell Hammond lost his job to MacDonald after only a few months in the role — an unnamed KFC spokesperson would only say that Colonel Sanders “was too big a personality to be portrayed by just one person.”
However, as Business Insider notes, fans weren’t fully on board with Darrell Hammond in the role. One in five viewers hated the Hammond Colonel — which, surprisingly, was good news for KFC, because he at least got people talking, says KFC spokesperson Greg Creed.
“So far the response has been about 80% positive, 20% hate it. And I am actually quite happy that 20% hate it, because now they at least have an opinion. They’re actually talking about KFC, and you can market to love and hate; you cannot market to indifference.”
In fact, “indifference” has been killing the KFC brand for some time now, especially among younger consumers. KFC recently lost its spot as the No. 1 fast food chicken franchise in the U.S. to Chick-fil-A, which has less than half the number of KFC’s stores.
For his part, Norm MacDonald seems to be loving his new job as Colonel Sanders (a role originally played by Colonel Harland Sanders himself). The 51-year-old Saturday Night Live alum has been having fun tweeting about his new job, laughing with fans about it.
— Donald D’Haene (@TheDonaldNorth) August 18, 2015
It is unfathomable to me that #KFC is still trending. I bought some stock yesterday morning, already up. Astounding!!!!! Good job, geniuses.
— Norm Macdonald (@normmacdonald) August 18, 2015
It’s not clear, as of this post, if Norm MacDonald will have a “permanent” job as the new face of Colonel Sanders, or if, as CNN suggests, KFC is just playing a game with fans and rotating former SNL actors through the role.
[Image courtesy of: Getty Images / Ethan Miller]