Everybody who’s been eating at Kentucky Fried Chicken for so long knows the basic story of its origin and the general background of KFC founder Harland Sanders, the famed Colonel Sanders. There’s the idealized tale of how while operating a gasoline station/restaurant in Kentucky during the 1930’s he developed his “Original Recipe” for fried chicken marinated in “11 secret herbs and spices”, which then spread with his pioneering efforts of franchising his business. Even after selling the enterprise to a group of investors, Colonel Sanders remained its symbol and brand ambassador until his death in 1980. To this day KFC continues using his name and image to promote the company worldwide, with the help of a succession of actors to portray the dignified-looking Colonel Sanders with his white hair, mustache and beard for one marketing campaign or other.
The legacy continues this year according to CNN, with a brand new guy for the iconic brand ambassador role in actor Rob Lowe. This is just in time for Lowe, as the latest Colonel Sanders, to debut its new Zinger chicken sandwich in the US. Some who are hearing of this for the first time may have questioned the casting of the relatively young 53-year old Lowe to take on the role of Sanders, whose signature looks in the brand image were taken when he was already in his 70s. Then again, KFC has been doing this as standard with all their previous brand ambassador actors, like the equally hunky Billy Zane. Lowe has starred in hit series such as “The West Wing” in all its seasons from 1999 to 2006, as well as “Parks and Recreation”, along with an eclectic selection of interesting roles in TV and film.
Lowe’s first major gig as KFC’s Colonel Sanders has him appearing in an ad for the Zinger chicken sandwich. It’s framed as taking place in Sanders’ heyday as brand ambassador for the company he has passed on, sometime in the 1950-60s when the space race was a hot topic. The ad has him dressed in a spacesuit and addressing a media briefing about sending the Zinger sandwich into space – complete with a mockup NASA-like crew encasing a Zinger inside a “spacesuit” shaped like a KFC chicken bucket. The gist of the Colonel’s speech in the ad has him speaking about KFC doing stuff like hand-breading the Zinger’s chicken filling (and sending one of them to space) because it’s the hard thing to do, and therefore worth it, for the “finger-licking” satisfaction of succeeding afterwards.
The KFC Zinger chicken sandwich, already long sold in restaurants outside NA is described specifically as a “100 percent white meat breast filet, hand-breaded and fried to a golden brown by trained cooks in every KFC kitchen, and served with lettuce and Colonel’s mayonnaise on a toasted sesame seed bun.” The ad has it available in a $5 fill-up box with extras.
Photo courtesy of US Weekly