Forget Pigs in Space, KFC’s new advertising campaign sends fried chicken sandwiches beyond the stratosphere. The Yum Brand’s (YUM)-owned fast food chain is debuting The Zinger, a spicy chicken sandwich that does very well internationally but is being introduced for the first time in the U.S., and actor Rob Lowe has been hired to play Colonel Sanders in ads pushing The Zinger.
In the spot, Lowe as Colonel Sanders dresses as an astronaut and officially announces the launch of The Zinger into space. KFC admits the idea is a bit otherworldly, but keep in mind we live in a world where Jeff Bezos’s (AMZN) Blue Origin and Elon Musk’s (TSLA) SpaceX are making headlines with commercial space travel.
“I have no idea how we’ll launch a chicken sandwich into space, but the marketing team thinks they can do it,” KFC’s U.S. president and chief concept officer Kevin Hochman said in a statement,"What I do know, is the Zinger is the bestselling KFC chicken sandwich in 120 countries and it's now available in America."
Back in May 2015, KFC brought back Colonel Sanders into its advertising campaigns as a part of a larger $185 million brand revamp. Since then, many celebrities have donned trademark white suit and goatee to play the Colonel. Here’s a list of all the famous people who played him since the reboot:
Saturday Night Live veteran Darrell Hammond was the first to play Colonel Sanders, as the KFC founder returned to the television screens with this “Bucket in My Hand” commercial.
Comedian and yet another SNL alum, MacDonald replaced Hammond as the Colonel within a few months. While Hammond was reportedly unhappy with the move, MacDonald was on air calling himself the ‘real Colonel Sanders’.
By early 2016, the brand was done with MacDonald and swapped him with stand-up comic Jim Gaffigan, who was known to use food as a recurring theme in his sketches. But his debut spot as Sanders had him dreaming that his predecessor stole his identity.
Last summer, Hamilton with his perennially tanned look, according to AdAge, became the face of Colonel Sanders for a very specific product–The Extra Crispy Chicken. In fact, in this spot, Hamilton calls himself the “Extra-crispy Colonel.”
Comedian and real life retired lieutenant colonel, Riggle was roped in by KFC to kick off the NFL season last year, reported Fortune magazine. In this commercial, Riggle plays coach to a made up football team called the Kentucky Buckets.
This Mad Men star took on as Colonel Sanders by October 2016, according to Adweek, to promote KFC’s Nashville Hot Chicken. Nashville played a big role in Elvis Presley’s life, and the commercial had Kartheiser’s face on a record sporting Presley’s trademark hairstyle.
Earlier this year, KFC had Zane play the Colonel. Zane, popularly remembered as the bad guy in Titanic, is covered in Gold for this commercial for Georgia Gold Chicken. He also did a few more spots for KFC.