The Colonel is back – and he is a little bit creepy!


This week, KFC announced the resurrection of Colonel Sanders, as the fried chicken chain seeks to re-establish its market share in the limited service chicken segment. In 1999, KFC held 39.7% of the US market share in the limited service chicken segment. That figure has shrunk to a current 20.2%, while Chick-fil-A’s U.S. market share has overtaken it, standing at 27.8%. (Technomic and Janney Capital Markets)

Colonel Sanders, the founder of KFC, will be played by Darrell Hammond, well known for his appearances on Saturday Night Live, in the new commercials.

SNL's Darrell Hammond is the new Colonel Sanders in a series of new KFC ads.

SNL’s Darrell Hammond is the new Colonel Sanders in a series of new KFC ads.

KFC plans to redesign the interior and the exterior of its restaurants, as well as its packaging. The fast food chain also promises some new menu items, such as Kentucky baked beans, Finger Lickin’ Good Sauce and lemonade from Dole.

The ads have a very retro feel to them, and presumably the idea is to play on nostalgia to lure people back to the franchise. But frankly, I just find them dated, sad, and yes, just a little bit creepy.

But hey, judge for yourself, maybe it is just me. Here is a preview of the ads, which will start featuring on Monday, 25 May, (Memorial Day in the US.)

It makes me wonder how they did their market research. I think neither the ads, nor the changes, address the real reasons why KFC’s market share has diminished, and therefor won’t solve the problem either.

Looking at the trends in health and the fast food industry, I think they would have been much better served paying more attention to their menu, by introducing healthier options, while retaining their signature taste.

They should also have addressed the issue of how and where their ingredients are sourced, and come out with a firm policy to only serve poultry that is antibiotic free. MacDonald’s have already done so, and Chick-fil-A has announced its plans to eliminate antibiotic-fed chicken from their menu.

While only time will tell if their new direction will boost their market share, I, for one, will not be rushing out to buy shares in the company.

How effective do you think this marketing campaign will be?