Talk about a personality crisis.
KFC plans to introduce yet another actor playing Colonel Sanders during the Super Bowl, making it the third reboot of the fried chicken restaurant’s white-coated mascot since last May.
The Portland advertising firm Wieden+Kennedy designed the three-year advertising campaign with rotating Colonel Sanders impersonators to help KFC stand out against other fast-casual chicken restaurants, a KFC spokesperson told the Daily Meal.
“Our sole aim with the whole rebrand, which is a three-year mission that only just began, was to bring the colonel back to the forefront, and bring his values to life that helped propel Kentucky Fried Chicken into greatness and in doing so be sure that everyone, especially our millennial audience, knew Colonel Sanders was a real man.”
KFC released a teaser for its upcoming Super Bowl commercial in which the current Colonel Sanders, Norm MacDonald, bid his fans a tearful goodbye. KFC plans to introduce the new Colonel Sanders during the Super Bowl pregame and during CBS’s livestream, reports Mashable.
Saturday Night Live‘s Darrell Hammond was the first iteration of Colonel Sanders, but he didn’t’ last long as KFC spokesman and fellow comedian Norm MacDonald stepped in to fill his shiny white shoes, but now he will pass the baton on to yet another actor.
About 20 percent of viewers say they hate the new Colonel Sanders mascot commercial, but that’s OK with KFC’s parent company Yum! Brands CEO Greg Creed, according to the Business Insider.
“They’re actually talking about KFC, and you can market to love and hate, you cannot market to indifference.”
The marketing campaign appears to be working as the fried chicken restaurant has seen sales shoot up 8 percent, KFC Chief Marketing Officer Kevin Hochman told Yahoo Food.
“If you looked at social media over Halloween, there were zillions of Colonel Sanders costumes, not just kids, but adults.”
It’s anyone’s guess who the next Colonel Sanders will be. The safe bet is another SNL comedian like Dana Carvey or Steve Martin, but there are also rumors it could be a millennial colonel or even an African American colonel.
The revival of Colonel Sanders after 21 years isn’t the only change KFC is making to stay competitive in the fast-casual chicken industry.
The new $5 “Fill Up” promotion with an entrée, drink, sides, and a dessert has helped fuel KFC sales as have restaurant redesigns both inside and out.
The fried chicken chain also just put to rest rumors it was selling mutant eight-legged chickens with six wings.
KFC just won a lawsuit against three Chinese companies that spread false rumors the restaurant chain was selling mutated chickens to customers. The three firms were fined more than $91,000.
The mutant chicken rumor may have gained momentum last year when Daily Buzz Live posted a hoax study by the University of New Hampshire claiming the federal government forced KFC to change its name from Kentucky Fried Chicken.
The rumor, which has been around for decades, says KFC stopped using “real chickens” and started using genetically modified organisms that have no beaks, feathers, or feet and are fed through a tube.
KFC spokesman Rick Maynard told the Business Insider the rumor was false; the company only uses high-grade chicken from trusted suppliers.
“There is absolutely no truth to this ridiculous urban legend, which has been debunked many times.”
[Photo Illustration by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]