Dueling Celebrity Colonels Fight for Chicken Supremacy in KFC’s Super Bowl Spot

It's Rob Riggle vs. Billy Zane

It's a battle of the colonels.
Edelman

KFC has been rotating its slate of celebrity colonels for a few years now, so it only makes sense that two of them would eventually come to blows. That’s what’s happening in the brand’s Super Bowl spot, which pits new celebrity colonel Billy Zane against Rob Riggle, who began appearing as Colonel Sanders last fall.

The ad from Wieden + Kennedy marks KFC’s first appearance in the Big Game.

In one teaser, Zane, who stepped into Colonel Sanders’ suit last week to promote KFC’s Georgia Gold Chicken, which has a honey-mustard barbecue glaze, arm wrestles with Riggle, who began appearing in KFC’s football-themed spots as the “Kentucky Buckets” colonel in September. In another, the two simply have a never-ending battle of rock-paper-scissors.

In the ad, Zane, covered in gold, extols the virtues of the new Georgia Gold Chicken as Riggle lurks in the background and then attempts to tackle him.

KFC’s other celebrity colonels have included Norm Macdonald, Jim Gaffigan, Darrell Hammond and, more recently, the bronzed George Hamilton, who appropriately played the extra crispy colonel, and Mad Men’s Vincent Kartheiser, who played the Nashville Hot colonel.

The rotating celebrity colonel strategy has paid off from a sales and marketing standpoint. KFC has experienced nine consecutive quarters of sales growth, and people under 35 had a 45 percent increase in brand consideration for KFC from 2015 to 2016, according to the company.

For more Super Bowl LI news, check out Adweek’s Super Bowl Ad Tracker, an up-to-date list of the brands running Super Bowl spots and the agencies involved in creating them.