A bird-brained marketing strategy; KFC needs to stop.


Image | John Warren

KFC spends $100 million a year on marketing. A large slice of that pot-pie goes to their research and development team, who concoct such great ideas as “I Love You, Colonel Sanders! A Finger Lickin’ Good Dating Simulator” or “A Recipe for Seduction: A KFC Original” …and they need to stop.
The first example of this bird-brained marketing strategy is, “I Love You, Colonel Sanders! A Finger Lickin’ Good Dating Simulator,” released on September 24th, 2019. The basic premise of the game is that you are a new student at the culinary school, attending with your best friend named Miriam. Within the first five to ten minutes of gameplay, you have also met up with the two Rivals, Aeshleigh (Ashley), and Van Van. However, any cares you gave to these saucy Rivals are quickly forgotten when you lay eyes on Colonel Sanders.

In this game, Colonel Sanders is a handsome anime persona, and no matter what corny move you make, you will still end up with the Colonel as your honey. I recently fully played through this game on Steam, and when looking through reviews, I just had to include this comment, “This game is single-handedly the most elaborate and effective marketing campaign ever concocted by an international company,” The commenter said passionately. “This game makes you do more than just love the chicken – it makes you love the man behind the chicken. It takes you on a journey like no other and you will emerge a new person, for the better. Colonel Sanders will make you feel things you didn’t think possible and open up new doors in your life. You may think I’m crazy, you may think I’ve lost it, but this game truly changes you. I was skeptical at first but now I’ve awoken.”

Only a year later, we saw the reveal of a brand new movie, “A Recipe for Seduction: A KFC Original”, released December 13, 2020. The two main stars were Mario Lopez (playing Colonel Sanders), and Justene Alpert (a CHS alumna, playing Jessica, the femme fatale). The french-fried premise of the story is that Jessica’s boyfriend (who she does not like) proposes to her, which prompts Jessica to flee the scene. The next day, Jessica runs into Colonel Sanders, her Mom’s chef that she has not met (even though they are living in the same house), and the Colonel sweeps her off her drumsticks. After a while, the mom and the ex-boyfriend discover the side lovers, and lock Colonel Sanders in a room and attempt to kill him. Jessica found them right when they were about to stab the Colonel, and saved the day. If that explanation confused you, the movie would too. Believe it or not, official reviews came out for this short film, getting a 70% “Fresh” on Rotten Tomatoes, and a 4.8 on IMDb.

The last major example I want to bring up, the KFConsole, has not actually been released yet. The KFConsole is a PC that KFC is producing in partnership with CoolerMaster, Asus, and SeaGate. It has the “High-End” computer specs of a normal console (i.e. 4K, 240fps, 240hrz) but it looks like a KFC Bucket. In the bucket is a patented “Chicken Chamber.” Using the natural heat produced from all the computer parts, the chamber has the ability to keep your KFC fried chicken warm while you game.
Doing more and more research on this topic made me realize how wrong this all is. Colonel Harland Sanders was a real person who passed away in 1980, and here we are in present time making a dating sim about him. That is enough to make him roll over in his grave. It is like if one made a “Mcdonalds Mcdeodorant”, It doesn’t make sense. Use that 100 million dollar bucket o’ gravy marketing budget to make commercials – nothing more, nothing less. Stop making your KFC Extra Crispy sunscreen (available on eBay), stop making your Instagram model Colonel Sanders, and stop collaborating with DC to make the Colonel a superhero. Just stick to commercials.