Can the desi Colonel Sanders help KFC India get more mojo?

KFC India for the first-ever time has unveiled a desi avatar of its iconic founder, Colonel Sanders

by Misbaah Mansuri
Published - Jul 3, 2018 8:59 AM Updated: Jul 3, 2018 8:59 AM

Ever since its inception, KFC’s Colonel Sanders has been edgy, authentic and has owned it. The man, in many ways, is a throwback to the real deal. To the millennial consumer, it’s a face they’ve seen on every bucket of KFC chicken. A number of people have portrayed him in a series of commercials since 2015. And now, KFC India for the first-ever time has unveiled a desi avatar of its iconic founder, Colonel Sanders. They've launched their new marketing platform — KFC Land.

Denzil Smith, popular Indian film actor recently made an appearance at a KFC restaurant in Connaught Place, New Delhi recently where he introduced 'KFC Land' to all the patrons. The brand has also released ads starring the new Sanders. The teasers show Sanders introducing chicken lovers to a whole new world of ‘KFC Land’. We spoke to Moksh Chopra- CMO KFC India and Krishna Mani, Senior Creative Director, Ogilvy & Mather on the same.

Chopra revealed that taking the distinctiveness in the brand’s approach and communication was at the core of the concept of KFC Land. “We wanted to build on our core brand pillars - our flavoursome food and our iconic founder - both of which are highly distinctive. Also this was the obvious next step in the journey of the brand’s evolution. KFC has been loved by consumers in India for about 20 years now – and people are familiar with our scrumptious food. So it was about time that the brand moved to the next level, and KFC Land only helps take the brand story forward using our unique assets like Colonel Sanders, tagline finger lickin’ good, iconic KFC bucket thus helping consumers discover more about KFC,” he said.

The concept of KFC Land will play out across all our upcoming marketing campaigns, restaurants as well as extend to other digital touch-points, over the next few months. Speaking about the creative brief for the campaign, Mani said, “Our brief was to create a ‘land’ that every chicken-lover would crave to be a part of. We had to create a unique brand world for KFC that could not be owned by others. Colonel Sanders is an integral part of the KFC brand identity. He is the guy who gave us the finger licking good chicken that KFC is known for. So who better than him to take forward the brand’s promise.”

Mani contended that the challenge was in bringing alive his persona, ethos and energy. “It is our strong belief that this campaign will surely make KFC stand out in the clutter, and garner a huge fan following for KFC’s beloved Colonel Sanders,” he shared.

Ad review

Priyadarshi Banerjee, National Revenue Head, Digital and Marketing Head, International Brands, Worldwide Media opined that while the ad doesn’t push creative boundaries as a TVC, it definitely breaks the clutter and monotony of fast food ads. “Fast foods ads usually are all about the end product and the taste only. This one however, also capitalises on the legacy of a brand like KFC by seamlessly integrating the legend of the age-old recipe of KFC in the narrative,” he let out.

Banerjee believes that the idea is more or less to communicate the 'taste' or the 'emotion'.” A brand like KFC of course always had the smiling Col. Sanders as a strong historical imagery throughout, but to bring that out on screen as a live person, in an Indian commercial is definitely a bold move that I wouldn't have expected,” he reasoned.

Naren Kaushik Mudrakartha, Senior Creative Director, Happy mcgarrybowen feels that Sanders could have been used much better. “ The edit, format, music, etc. is quite tried and tested. It does justice to the part where KFC has decided to (re)introduce Colonel Sanders to the consumers. But not with this execution. There have been quite a few KFC campaigns that have nailed the tonality and messaging in the past. Colonel Sanders also could have been used much better,” he said.

Mudrakartha opined that recall is perhaps something this campaign will get, but not necessarily equity and brand growth. “The template isn’t vastly different from the international format, but even then, the humour, craft, etc. seem to not have done much. I don’t really see what it is that people will really connect to, apart from the fact that their chicken is fresh and crispy – which the loyalists already know and swear by,” he shared.

Said Deepak Singh, Chief Creative Officer, The Social Street, “The ad is all right, but not sure if it meets the standards that KFC advertising has set in the past. Across countries, KFC has done a lot of interesting work and hence the expectation is now quite high. This one comes across as quite okay in that context.

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