Something squirrely has been going on over at Kentucky Fried Chicken. Last spring, the company trotted out Colonel Sanders as part of a 75th anniversary brand refresh, by which we mean going back to its old branding. Seeing as how the original camera-friendly founder Colonel Sanders was dead, KFC tapped Darrell Hammond (a man with experience replacing deceased pop-culture touchstones) to impersonate the Southern gentlemen for a series of ads.
Now, in an apparent acknowledgement of their pitchman’s ersatz nature, KFC has replaced Hammond with fellow SNL alum Norm Macdonald. While Hammond was likely picked because of his impressionistic talents, Macdonald’s iteration is intentionally lacking in the Colonel’s je ne sais quoi. Things get very meta very quickly in a series of new spots, as the “real” Colonel grouses about imposters trying to steal his mojo:
The ads are a continuation of KFC’s increasingly self-aware campaign to get people to rediscover the love of chicken that’s been flash-fried in soybean oil. Conspiracy theorists who were proven wrong about mutant chickens may also perceive this campaign, featuring a “Macdonald’s Colonel Sanders,” as evidence that KFC and the Golden Arches are colluding to enslave us all with quarter pounders and mashed potatoes with extra gravy:
But while making people smile nostalgically at Colonel Sanders may be one goal, KFC also has to sell some chickens. To this end, Colonel Sanders is spreading the word about his new “Family Fill Up” meal, conveniently named to plausibly explain a $20 trip to KFC as a something other than fuel for a night of binge-watching. For those looking to make an entry-level investment, the “$5 Fill Up” provides portions more easily digested by a single human being: