Pete Campbell Lands the KFC Account, as Vincent Kartheiser Is Your New Colonel

The Nashville Hot Colonel, in fact

Headshot of Tim Nudd

Darrell Hammond, Norm Macdonald, Jim Gaffigan and … Vincent Kartheiser?

Yes, the 37-year-old Mad Men star is the latest (and most unlikely) actor to dress up as Colonel Sanders for KFC's ongoing ad campaign from Wieden + Kennedy. And he's not just any Colonel Sanders. Kartheiser plays the "heartthrob Nashville Hot Colonel" to celebrate the return of Nashville Hot Chicken to the KFC menu.

"Like KFC's Nashville Hot Chicken, I'm a bit of a rebel decked out in authentic Nashville flavor—a perfect combination of classic and cool," Kartheiser said in a groan-inducing statement. The chicken chain said that in casting the specialty role, it "sought out a young actor with lots of hair and flair. Vincent's vintage good looks and piercing blue eyes made him perfect for the role."

Those blue eyes are prominently on display in the still imagery KFC had whipped up for the announcement. And indeed, that still imagery is all you'll see of Kartheiser in the spot below—which casts Nashville Hot Chicken as an illicit temptation to teens, akin to rock 'n' roll in the 1950s. (The teen in the spot is seen fawning not only over the food by also over a vinyl record by the apparently musically inclined Nashville Colonel.) 

KFC launched its own version of the trendy regional Nashville Hot Chicken flavor back in January, and claims that fans on social media have been clamoring for its return ever since.

"Matt Scary tweeted at us that if we brought Nashville Hot Back on Oct. 10, it would be the best birthday gift ever," said KFC CMO Kevin Hochman. "So if Matt brings just $5.49 plus tax to a KFC on Oct. 10, that birthday gift is his. I'm kidding! We'll send him a gift card!"

More pics of Vincent below. 

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@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.