Colonel Sanders has landed in France. The famous fried chicken chain opened its first restaurant in the country back in 1991 but, 26 years later, only 3% of French people know who he is. For over a quarter of a century his trademark face has appeared on buckets but has never been a part of the brand’s communication. Until now.
KFC, along with its agency Sid Lee Paris, are building his story, launching a new communication platform to kick off the year. The campaign’s inauguration began with an epic 90’ film directed by Jeff Low (La\Pac), which aired in prime time, introducing the enigmatic figure to the population for the first time. The film follows the Colonel who, after overhearing 2 young Frenchmen chatting indifferently about his chicken, embarks on a journey from Kentucky to the Gallic country. Intent on introducing himself, he’s prepared to confront any challenge to explain that his is no ordinary bucket of chicken, that his secret blend of 11 herbs and spices took him over 40 years to perfect (in a remarkably strong American accent of course, lest we forget his origins).
"Our hope is to make Colonel Sanders a real pop culture personality in France. It’s an incredible opportunity to be able to tell the story of such a persona," explain Céline and Clément Mornet-Landa, Creative Directors at Sid Lee Paris.
In a veritable advertising block-buster we follow Colonel Sanders, bucket in hand, along a remarkable world tour, as he water-skis on the backs of crocodiles, performs stunt double-worthy manoeuvers on a motorcycle and defiantly refuses to reveal his secret recipe during an interrogation. Whether traveling by submarine or trudging through the desert, he is steadfast with his mission.
"Our feeling is that the product needs to be at the heart of the discussion. Behind the history of Colonel Sanders, there’s the history of the recipe that we’ve always wanted to share with the French people" Mehdi Benali, Managing Director at Sid Lee Paris, points out.
Internally at the brand a number of KFC employees were treated to an exclusive in-person introduction to the Colonel who delivered a keynote speech. The launch of Colonel Sanders is only the first chapter in a new history for the brand, a story that will continue throughout the year.
“More than an ad campaign, our objective is to put forth a genuine storytelling about Colonel Sanders and his recipe. And to set it up through a privileged exchange between the brand and French people” explains Pascale Laborde, Marketing Director, KFC France.
So, it’s safe to say, this isn’t the last we’ll be hearing from the colonel.