I remember, as a child of the 1970's, Colonel Harland Sanders, the goateed founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken, hawking his famous 11 herbs and spices on television. The Colonel was a grandfatherly figure then (he'd be 120 years old today).
His image, southern twang, and white suit and string bow tie was omnipresent in the chain's advertising and packaging. For decades and his name was sometimes used as a synonym for the KFC product or restaurant itself.
But with the Colonel's passing, Kentucky Fried Chicken has evolved to be KFC and most of its core finger-lickers have little association with the founder--except for his smiling face on the logo.
As USA Today puts it, "our cultural connection to Colonel Sanders seems to have been lost in the deep-fryer of time."
But KFC wants to change that, and introduce the more than six in 10 Americans ages 18 to 25 couldn't identify him in the KFC logo, and the more than five in 10 believe he's a made-up icon and three in 10 who haven't a clue who he was."As time has gone by, the younger generation didn't get to see and experience him like other generations did" in ads and personal appearances, says spokeswoman Laurie Schalow. "We plan to celebrate the fact that our founder was a real person."
KFC will be using its Facebook presence, Twitter, MySpace, the KFC website and other digital outreach to introduce them to Sanders, with the hopes of making a more personal connection to the brand.
"I wonder if most kids know what the initials KFC stand for?" poses brand guru Steven Addis in USA Today. "It's just an alphabet soup now."
Here's a "mighty proud" Colonel Sander hawking his birds back in 1969: