- KFC partnered with Lifetime on an original mini-movie starring Mario Lopez as brand mascot Colonel Harland Sanders, according to a press release.
- "A Recipe For Seduction" premieres Dec. 13 at noon ET and follows the form of a typical Lifetime Original Movie, promising suspense, romance and the potential for "fowl" play, per the release. The 15-minute short timed around the holidays represents KFC's first custom piece of mid-form branded content with Lifetime.
- KFC is using the occasion to promote a partnership with Uber Eats where users can get six free extra crispy chicken tenders with a purchase of $20 or more. The delivery app promotion shows how the Yum Brands chain is angling to link an ambitious content play to commerce initiatives that are increasingly crucial for its business during the pandemic.
KFC clearly sees a consumer appetite for video content that doesn't take itself too seriously as the pandemic paints an otherwise grim picture around the holidays. The trailer for "A Recipe For Seduction" teases a story rife with touchstones that are likely familiar to Lifetime Original Movie fans, including a plot focused on steamy love affairs and scheming family members — albeit with a bigger focus on fried chicken.
The restaurant chain is also continuing its tradition of placing celebrities in the role of mascot Col. Sanders, here tapping Mario Lopez, who recently starred in Lifetime's Christmas romance "Feliz NaviDAD." Familiarity with the actor could drum up appeal with audiences who might otherwise be wary to commit their time to a branded short film. A "Feliz NaviDAD" encore will play after "A Recipe For Seduction" premieres.
Lifetime Original Movies have developed an intense cult following over the years, becoming beloved among viewers for their guilty-pleasure qualities. "A Recipe For Seduction" comes as part of the A+E network's popular It's A Wonderful Lifetime slate of seasonal programming, and will live on Lifetime's apps and other video on demand platforms following its linear TV debut Sunday.
The co-production offers another signal that marketers are getting more ambitious with their content strategies, recognizing that consumers are streaming video in greater numbers and growing averse to traditional advertisements. Huggies, the diaper brand owned by Kimberly-Clark, recently worked with the publisher Scary Mommy on a Hulu streaming series modeled off the late-night talk show format. "Up Early Tonight," which runs four 20-minute episodes and caters to new mothers kept up by their kids, rolls out on the platform on Dec. 17.
For KFC, the content play serves as a way to raise brand awareness around an unusual holiday period and highlight its partnership with Uber Eats. Delivery channels have become critical for restaurants, which now face additional restrictions on dine-in options as COVID-19 cases climb to new records in the U.S. KFC, like fellow Yum Brands chain Taco Bell, has started experimenting with store concepts that better accommodate mobile orders and contactless pickup.
While "A Recipe For Seduction" is noteworthy for its ambition, its tone aligns with past KFC campaigns largely targeted at an audience of working mothers. As part of its Mother's Day promotion in 2017, the brand produced a bona fide romance novella featuring a fictionalized, hunkier version of Col. Sanders. "Tender Wings of Desire" ran 96 pages and followed a similar plot to "A Recipe For Seduction," detailing the story of a woman who breaks from tradition and order to pursue an affair with Sanders. KFC last year also developed a dating sim titled I Love You, Colonel Sanders! that emulated a style of video game popular in Japan.