Monday, August 24, 2015


Last week, or maybe it's been two weeks ago, between my Mexican vacation and dropping my daughter off at college my sense of time has been all out of whack, KFC did what nobody has ever done in the ad business -- they rolled out a second Colonel Sanders spokesperson, in the form of Norm Macdonald.

Maybe it's because I have a little history with Norm, but I thought the move was genius.

I actually ran into Norm at Margarita Mix about a month ago. Or maybe it was six months ago. Like I said the battery in my internal clock is dead.

I also used to see Norm, quite regularly, at the gym in Playa Vista. Naked Norm is quite different than clothed Norm.

And years ago I had my most inglorious encounter with one of the funniest men on Earth. I was in NYC for some business which invariably led to an expensive dinner and free flowing alcohol. After dinner, someone suggested we go to the Rainbow Room at Rockefeller Center. Before we boarded the elevator, we spotted Norm in the lobby. There was dutiful handshaking and selfies, none of which I can put my hands on. I'm pretty sure I invited him to knock down some whiskey with us.

"I have to go now."

In any case, I am in awe of the Weiden Kennedy move to give us two Colonel Sanders. If for no other reason than it messes with convention. It is, how one agency might put it, Disruptive.

For the first time in years, or maybe just ever, people noticed advertising from Kentucky Fried Chicken.

I even considered bringing home a bucket of the poultry that has never touched my lips, but then I remembered my 36 inch waist shorts were feeling a bit tight.

The cynical among you might believe the Norm Colonel Sanders was concocted in order to make up for the Daryl Hammond Colonel Sanders. I disagree. I believe the smart folks in Portland set this in motion from the beginning.

I read recently that each of us is exposed to 10,000 advertising messages a day. We've become so saturated with addyness the only way to stand out is to bravely mess with the form itself.

The Energizer Bunny did it brilliantly. Of course the client walked away from that approach and now what they're doing with the Bunny is not so brilliant.

When we were doing the ABC campaign, we wanted to roll out a different tagline every day. It would have been a logistical nightmare, but it was a TV network and we had the wherewithal to pull that trigger. The brass didn't see it that way and instead suggested we spend out time coming up with better promos for Hiller & Diller.

Will we see other clients or purveyors of fast food follow suit? I don't make it a habit of prognosticating, but I'm fairly confident the answer is a resounding No.

"I like the tomato slice through the water in Take 23 but the ripey redness in Take 41 was clearly better."

"And the iceberg lettuce snap in Take 19 was awesome sauce."

"Let's run this by the marketing committee and see which one they like." 


Bull Burnbach said...

Yeah they changed the spokesperson but the writing in those ads is flatter than the Coke you have to drink to wash all that fried garbage down.

Théo said...

They should add Bill Pullman, and switch in Bill Paxton now and then throughout the ads without letting on. (The way Buñuel used two actresses in That Obscure Object Of Desire.)