The chicken chain takes to the squared circle to recast its iconic founder.
For those of you who were worried that KFC was running out of notable personalities to step into the chicken chain's revolving door of Colonel Sanders fill-ins, here's some exciting news: The brand just tapped another massive talent pool… the WWE.
Last week, KFC posted a new video to its YouTube channel called "The Audition." As we've been documenting for over two years now (you're welcome!), the finger-lickin' good chicken maker has found its marketing feet by continually swapping in new recognizable names—comedians like Darrell Hammond, Norm Macdonald, Jim Gaffigan and Rob Riggle and actors like George Hamilton, Vincent Kartheiser, Billy Zane and Rob Lowe—to play the brand's facial hair-sporting spokesman. At one point back in 2016, WWE wrestler Dolph Ziggler even donned the Colonel's iconic white outfit and apparently, KFC was keen on upping the ante on this wrestling partnership. This latest spot features not just Ziggler, but eight different WWE personalities including Big Show, Stardust, and R-Truth, all showing up for this "audition."
In the end, however, the newest Colonel is none of those wrestlers. Instead, the position is filled by WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels (at least according to Adweek—recognizing professional wrestlers in costumes other than their standard attire isn't our specialty). The video finishes with Michaels running around an actual wrestling ring in full Sanders' regalia during Smackdown.
Shaine Edwards, the copywriter of the spot, explained the importance of having the Colonel actually get in the ring. "We've found with a lot of effort that going out of our way to remain authentic earns us goodwill from the folks we're talking to—also, it's just not a good idea to upset an arena full of wrestling fans," he said. "People have to know that we love the things they love just as much as they do, otherwise we're just co-opting their interests." Let no one, then, accuse that part of the WWE of being fake.