KFC’s First-Ever Super Bowl Commercial Features Rob Riggle And Billy Zane As Battling Colonels

Love them or hate them Kentucky Fried Chicken (or KFC) has begun rolling out yet another Colonel Sanders impostor to promote its new product, Georgia Gold Chicken. Only, this time, the new Colonel will be sharing ad space with another. Encrusted in a golden covering, Billy Zane is the new Georgia Gold Colonel who will face off against Rob Riggle, the Kentucky Buckets Colonel during this year’s Super Bowl. Created by Wieden & Kennedy, the new commercial is promoting the new chicken product that comes with honey-mustard barbecue glaze.

Advertising Age states that KFC made the decision to advertise during the big game because competition for fried chicken is apparently heating up. Everyone from Popeyes Louisana Kitchen to Wendy’s is promoting chicken products.

Zane is just the lasted in a string of actors portraying Colonel Sanders beginning with Saturday Night Live alum Darrell Hammond in 2015 when the chicken restaurant went back to their roots and embraced their company’s founder.

“We were thinking about, ‘What’s our North Star?’ And our North Star is the Colonel, and doing things the hard way… When we’re at our best, the Colonel is at the center of everything. When he passed, we started losing our way a little bit,” said Kevin Hochman, KFC’s chief marketing officer to Fast Company.

However, instead of honoring the founder, KFC has found a way to present different “Colonels” each with their own personality and place them in sometimes bizarre situations. “The thought was that we would bring him back in different iterations, depending on the promotional window,” said Hockman.

After Hammond, Norm MacDonald wore the white suit and shoes followed by George Hamilton portraying the “Extra Crispy Colonel.” Vincent Kartheiser, from AMC’s Mad Men was briefly seen as the “Nashville Hot Colonel” shown most often on a record album cover portraying a 1950s Elvis-like rock singer. KFC even created a limited edition vinyl record, but it’s not Kartheiser’s voice recorded on The Nashville Colonel and his Fabulous Band record. That voice belongs to Fred Armisen. KFC only produced 125 “smoky and spicy sounds on crispy wax” and hid them in 14 different vinyl record stores around the country.

While Rob Riggle is currently serving as the colonel, the new teaser commercials for the Super Bowl commercial suggest that he may be on his way out. While not everyone is a fan of the rotating fake Colonel Sanders promotion, it has done wonders for Kentucky Fried Chicken. The company has seen nine consecutive quarters of sales growth since the campaign began and AdWeek reports that the chain saw a 45 percent increase in “brand consideration of KFC” from people under the age of 35 from 2015 to 2016.


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KFC isn’t relying solely on Billy Zane’s commercials to promote Georgia Gold Chicken. During last Sunday’s WWE Royal Rumble broadcast, Enzo and Cass also promoted the new product and is set to continue through April. The article also teases that KFC is also planning a “huge” new launch in late April featuring another new colonel.

[Featured Image by Randy Shropshire/Getty Images]