Kentucky Fried Chicken has rebranded Colonel Sanders once again with the latest pick being “not great, Bob.”
Mad Men star Vincent Kartheiser has been chosen as the next KFC colonel. The 37-year-old doesn’t fit the profile of previous celebrities cast in the role, like Darrell Hammond, Jim Gaffigan, and Norm Macdonald, as Kartheiser is more handsome and has a much smaller build. Kartheiser is playing “heartthrob Nashville Hot Colonel” which is a marketing nod to the return of the Nashville Hot Chicken.
Check out an ad featuring a picture of Kartheiser, spoofing the 50’s Rock N Roll craze.
KFC and Kartheiser released a statement on the casting saying it was important to cast a younger actor with “lots of hair and flair.”
“Like KFC’s Nashville Hot Chicken, I’m a bit of a rebel decked out in authentic Nashville flavor—a perfect combination of classic and cool,” Kartheiser said in a groan-inducing statement. The chicken chain said that in casting the specialty role, it “sought out a young actor with lots of hair and flair. Vincent’s vintage good looks and piercing blue eyes made him perfect for the role.”
It’s a weird shift in casting for KFC. With Hammond, Gaffigan, and Macdonald, they at least bared some resemblance to the original colonel. Kartheiser looks like a Buddy Holly Oompa Loompa. His incredible blue eyes definitely stand out, but the fake hair and goatee look awfully weird. The pictures look more like SNL portraits than ad campaign photos – but perhaps, that’s what they were going for.
Nashville Colonel is hot. This ad campaign, not so much. The gimmick of celebrity colonels is wearing off. Let’s see how KFC uses Kartheiser and whether the change up proves effective.