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Earlier this year, the world was re-introduced to one of the most iconic brand identities in history, as Colonel Sanders stepped out of his white stretch limo and popped back onto our TVs to tell us just how great KFC chicken still is. And when he did, it was Saturday Night Live veteran Darrell Hammond inside the signature white suit. But now, just three months later, Hammond has been replaced by another comedian and SNL star: Norm Macdonald. What the what?
Macdonald is the second actor to bring the “real” Colonel Sanders back into our lives for a new run of ads promoting the restaurant’s $5 Fill Up and $20 Family Fill Up meals. It isn’t exactly clear through KFC’s press release why Hammond is no longer rocking the white locks and facial hair, and we’re not quite sure if there was a problem involved or if this was the marketing strategy all along. It seems to be the latter case, as Macdonald’s first ads are a silly form of smear campaign where he calls out Hammond’s earlier Colonel for being an imposter. It’s odd, to say the least.
Check out one of those ads below.
Tying into the strangeness of everything is the statement from KFC’s chief marketing officer Kevin Hochman.
Other than not quite looking like him, his voice being different, and his inability to cook the world’s best chicken, we thought Norm was the perfect choice to play the Real Colonel. I think the fans will agree.
You’re never going to find me saying that Norm Macdonald isn’t great n whatever gig he gets, so I’m perfectly happy to hear his unmistakable voice coming out of the Colonel’s face, even though the actor isn’t exactly someone who has embraced corporate America in the past. It’s all part of KFC’s “Make the Colonel Proud” campaign, which is a multi-year effort and could possibly take the commercials in new directions in the future. But will Macdonald be the one with the ribbon around his neck, or will the company continue to bring in former Saturday Night Live stars every so often? This seems like a gig that Dana Carvey and Chris Parnell would be all over, and my fingers are crossed that Dennis Miller or Al Franken gets the offer.
Check out another one of the new ads below.
We’re still not sure whether to give KFC a thumbs up here, or if we should be throwing gravy at them. Either way, it’s always good to see Norm Macdonald on TV.