It should come as no surprise to learn that all fast food brands hate each other. Ever since aggressive capitalism really kicked off in the 80s, businesses from across the food spectrum have spent vast sums on needling each other in an array of inventive ways. Wendy’s seem to have an entire department dedicated to throwing shade at McDonald’s. In recent years, the digs have become significantly less overt than they once were.
However, a new announcement from KFC could be about to change all that.
In big news for fast food fans everywhere, KFC have announced plans for an all new sandwich to catapult them to deep fried success. The Crispy Colonel, available at stores worldwide from the end of April, will come in four lip smacking flavours - Classic, Smoky Mountain BBQ, Nashville Hot, and Georgia Gold honey mustard BBQ. What sets this sandwich apart is its ambition. With the new launch, KFC are hoping to unseat current chicken sandwich kings Chick-Fil-A and dominate the rapidly growing chicken burger marketplace.
Traditionally, KFC have relied on their offer of on-the-bone chicken pieces to stay ahead of their fast food competitors. However, as other chains such as Burger King and McDonald’s have begun to encroach on their territory, the chain has found itself under increasing pressure to remain relevant. The hope is that, with this new release, the chain can win back customers who have been heading elsewhere for their chicken burgers.
In order to help them get an edge on the competition, KFC have unleashed a secret weapon. In an unprecedented move, the chicken giants have brought a retired Colonel out of retirement for the new launch. George Hamilton will star in a series of commercials as the “Extra-Crispy Colonel” - the first time the chain’s signature mascot has been used to help promote a specific product.
The addition of a new member to the KFC family is no accident. According to KFC’s Chief Marketing Officer Kevin Hochman, the bold personality of the Extra-Crispy Colonel perfectly represents the chain’s new extra crispy chicken option. Speaking to Business Insider, Hochman noted that "Extra Crispy Chicken is fried to a golden brown. George Hamilton isn't fried to a golden brown, but he is tanned to a golden brown." Clearly, the casting makes perfect sense. Hamilton’s confident and outgoing imagining of the kindly colonel is exactly what KFC are after.
As if the announcement of a new KFC battleplan wasn’t worrying enough, the chain’s senior leadership are also starting to flex their marketing muscles. Speaking again to Business Insider, Marketing Team member Andrea Zahumensky didn’t shy away from making some seriously bold claims about the new product.
"I really believe this chicken sandwich will be differentiated and superior to anything else on the market, because of how we're preparing it and how piping-hot fresh it's going to be," Zahumensky revealed, adding, "Unlike the 'burger boys', that are preparing their chicken sandwiches ... in a factory and then frying them, we are pan-preparing with our cooks in the back of the house in our restaurants, and then building them to order, and then serving them."
It remains to be seen what response the established sandwich players will have to this new direction from KFC. Whatever happens, one thing is clear - chicken sandwich fans have got a new player in town.