Let the Virtual Influencer Colonel show you his #SecretRecipeForSuccess.

By Mike Pomranz
Updated April 11, 2019
Credit: KFC

The life of a social media “influencer” is pretty great: You get all sorts of free stuff, and all you have to do is pretend to be someone you’re not on social media. Now, the always innovative marketing team over at Kentucky Fried Chicken has decided to take that idea to its next logical step: They’ve created a KFC influencer who has to pretend he’s someone he’s not… because he’s not a real person at all: He’s completely computer-generated.

Taking a cue from the phenomenon of other digitally-created social media stars, from now until April 22, the Virtual Influencer Colonel has taken over the KFC Instagram account to show the rest of social media how it’s done/satire the typical influencer lifestyle. Since he has the full weight of one of the world’s best known fast food chicken brands behind him, this digital Colonel is already off to a hell of a start, immediately commanding the attention of KFC’s 1.3 million Instagram followers and hitting the ground running with additional partnerships from Dr Pepper, Old Spice, and TurboTax. (Yes, in the real world, a few other big brands heard this idea and said, “We want in!”)

“I originally launched my Instagram as a way to promote Kentucky Fried Chicken, my super-successful international business,” the Virtual Influencer Colonel explains for the made-up bio in his media kit. “After much reflection I realized I should use my platform for so much more. So I turned myself into a virtual influencer to inspire people to be their best selves. My inspirational life and advice is a unique blend of knowledge, positivity, and mindfulness, also known as the SecretRecipeForSuccess.” In case it isn’t clear, #SecretRecipeForSuccess is his go-to hashtag.

Credit: KFC

So what does this ad campaign add up to? Well, for example, yesterday, the computer-generated Colonel was featured lovingly embracing a horse. “Feeling so connected to nature by being on this horse in Kentucky,” the post states. “You have to find things that connect you. Whether it’s to other people or a place or another spirit like a horse. You always have to find the connection. Connection is a big part of the #secretrecipeforsucccess.”

I’ll tell you what, I hate being a corporate shill as much as the next influencer-loathing Gen Xer, but I gotta admit it: This fake Colonel has some pretty funny real writers. I’ll take him over Kendall Jenner any day.