KFC: The Return of the Colonel


Orchestrating a complete brand turnaround, based on doing things the Colonel’s way.

First, we brought back the Colonel himself, portrayed by a rotating cast of actors. The Colonel, always the ultimate chicken salesman, began appearing in unexpected places in pop culture, like at Comic-Con (in comic books made with DC Comics), in romance novels (with his very own book, Tender Wings of Desire), as part of the conversation around AI (with the H.A.R.L.A.N.D robot), and even on KFC Limited, an online store with merch that sold out with fans and earned glowing reviews from the likes of GQ and Teen Vogue.

In 2017, we took the campaign to new heights, literally and figuratively. In one of the biggest earned-media moments of the year, we sent KFC’s new Zinger chicken sandwich to the edge of space, in partnership with aerospace company World View.

To demonstrate how to make Original Recipe fried chicken—and help recruit and train cooks—we created an immersive VR game, produced entirely in-house. The content was so engaging that Oculus just made it available for millions of consumers on its platform.


Last but not least, in one of the most-talked about social stunts (that required zero production dollars), we quietly followed six Herbs and all five Spice Girls on Twitter in a nod to KFC’s secret 11 herbs and spices recipe. The move garnered over two billion earned impressions, appearing everywhere from the Today Show to the front page of Reddit.


Finally, KFC was back in the cultural conversation, with Eater naming KFC "the #Brand of the Year" and the Colonel appearing organically in shows like Curb Your Enthusiasm. Best of all, the campaign helped drive four years of same-store sales growth.

Most importantly, our work for KFC went beyond advertising: we executed retail design, collaborated on new products and naming, co-created media integrations, managed social conversations, and created a layer of year-round, PR-driving work. We identified a brand north star, and translated that into a big, powerful platform that spanned media and time and space, and allowed us to create things that people welcomed into their lives.

For Kentucky Fried Chicken, things are once again, Finger Lickin’ Good.

Read more about the campaign and and interview with the KFC brand communications director here. (link to story)

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