The Colonel is mad about KFC’s low prices

The typical portrayal of Colonel Sanders is that of a genteel southern gentleman, but hoo-wee, he’s madder’n a wet hen (we Googled it, it’s a saying) in a new campaign for KFC Canada’s new “KFC Twosdays” promotion, a revamp of its popular “Toonie Tuesday” consisting of two pieces of its original recipe dark meat or tenders for $2.99.

Launching April 11, the integrated campaign from KFC’s creative agency Courage, with PR by Narrative and media by Wavemaker, shows the Colonel quite vocally expressing his disappointment with the QSR—including some bleeped-out cuss words—for charging so little for his life’s work, especially in this new era of $37 chicken breasts.

“How freakin’ dare they,” he exclaims in one of the video ads.

The campaign is using what the brand is calling “high-impact” out-of-home, along with TV/online video, social ads on the brand’s owned and operated channels, including in-store, its app, and website.

The video creative shows the Colonel outraged by the $2.99 deal. Social ads, for example, show him ripping down and recycling posters promoting the “Twosdays” promotion.

The TV creative, meanwhile, shows the Colonel making chicken in his home kitchen. After taking a ticket order, he begins pacing and gesticulating while talking about how it’s his herbs and spices and his original recipe that they’re selling at such a discount.

It’s world famous, he complains, beloved in India, China, Jamaica. But his good-natured persona returns as he delivers the order to a customer waiting outside. “Enjoy,” he says.

The campaign includes a full-page in The Globe and Mail that takes the shape of an angry letter from the Colonel. “Dear KFC, how dare you?” the letter begins, before continuing “SHAME ON YOU!! Only $2.99, in this economy? Have you seen the price of chicken? You must be out of your minds.”

Interestingly, the real Harland Sanders reportedly hated what KFC became after he sold the company for $2 million—about $19.4 million in today’s dollars—in 1964. His outspoken criticism of the brand, including calling its gravy “wallpaper paste,” even led to an unsuccessful libel suit by the chicken chain in 1978.

“We knew that if we were going to use the Colonel, we wanted to stay true to the real life founder,” said Courage partner and CSO Tom Kenny of the newspaper ad. “[H]istorically the Colonel was never shy about sharing his opinions—and even sometimes criticizing—KFC’s business decisions. The newspaper open letter just felt like a really funny format to let the Colonel publicly air out his grievances.”

“We wanted to give KFC fans an unbeatable deal on a day of the week that has become synonymous with our brand,” said KFC’s chief marketing officer, Katherine Bond-Debicki, in a release. “You can understand where the Colonel is coming from—as the original Kentucky Fried Chicken chef, he knows more than anyone the craft and quality that go into every Finger Lickin’ Good bite.

Chris Powell