5 Iconic Marketing Campaigns Used By KFC

Back when it was first spawned by Colonel Harland Sanders in the early 1950s, Kentucky Fried Chicken was a local chain that didn’t really rely on marketing outside of word-of-mouth. Over the years, though, it evolved into KFC, a global fast-food giant that has a spot in just about every major market. KFC has been able to get to the top thanks to some amazing marketing campaigns throughout its history, with these five being the most iconic.

Revolving Door of Colonels

Probably the most popular and successful marketing campaign KFC has given us is the hilarious portrayal of the late Colonel Sanders, by a wide variety of random celebrities. Over 20 actors and actresses have dressed up in the classic and unmistakable Colonel Sanders attire. Some of the most notable have been the late Norm MacDonald, Rob Lowe, Ray Liotta, Reba McEntire, Jason Alexander, and Sean Astin. 

Though, it all started out with talented impressionist and SNL cast member, Darrell Hammond, who originally thought he’d be portraying the Colonel permanently. KFC had other plans and booted the poor guy, moving on to other celebrities to keep their campaigns fresh and ever-changing.  

Cocktails With a Twist

Have you ever wanted to drink KFC gravy straight from the container? Let’s assume you have. Don’t you wish you could drink off that sweet nectar without judgment? Your wish has been granted. You can drink gravy in style with KFC’s delicious marketing campaign, gravy cocktails. Following the interesting trend of making savory cocktails, also known as “stocktails”. 

KFC released recipes for The Gravy Mary, The Finger Lickin’ Sour, and The Southern Twist, all using a savory portion of their delectable gravy in lieu of the typical sweet mixer. 

KFC Bath Bombs

In November 2017, KFC Japan pulled a marketing stunt that was intriguing and kind of brilliant. With how popular the KFC franchise has become in Japan, especially during the holidays, the greatly adored restaurant released fried chicken-scented, drumstick-shaped, bath bombs that were extremely exclusive. 

Only 100 bath bombs were produced and only 100 randomly chosen Twitter users who retweeted KFC’s promotional tweet received the deliciously unique creation. It’s not the craziest thing KFC has done, but it’s another notch in the belt of the wild, yet effective marketing schemes the restaurant has come up with.  

Tender Wings of Desire

Do you know what all moms desire on Mother’s Day? Did you say wings? Or perhaps a romance novella based on the Kentucky fried heartthrob Colonel Harland Sanders? Why not both? Published in 2017, Tender Wings of Desire is a romance novella specifically marketed toward mothers for Mother’s Day. 

The story follows Lady Madeline Parker, who runs away from her strictly controlled life at Parker Manor. Finally feeling free and in control of her destiny, she unexpectedly ends up in the arms of the hunky and mysterious sailor, Sanders. Unfortunately, the book received poor ratings, but you can’t say it’s not one of the more creative marketing schemes any fast food franchise has come up with.  

Fried Chicken Flavored Nail Polish

In 2016, KFC unveiled its newest, and perhaps most unsuccessful, marketing scheme. Delivered in luxury packaging, KFC touted the colors Hot & Spicy and Original Recipe which essentially looked like a blend of herbs and spices, while others compared it to speckled gravy. What really set the nail polishes apart from normal ones, though, was that they were edible and were supposed to taste like KFC chicken.

Reviewers didn’t think it tasted all that great, though, but the whole campaign brought a lot of attention to KFC. Unfortunately for most of us, we weren’t able to get our hands on some of the KFC nail polish. “We’re not mass producing it,” a spokeswoman said. “We are only giving previews to the media to test the market reaction.”

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