KFC ropes in World's Strongest Man to pull 700 lbs. of fried chicken sandwiches
- KFC partnered with the current World's Strongest Man and "Game of Thrones" actor Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson to celebrate the launch of its Double Crispy Colonel sandwich, a news release announced. The menu offering is an iteration of the Crispy Colonel that launched earlier this year, but with two fried chicken fillets.
- For the campaign, the brand set up a Double Crispy Challenge wherein Björnsson pulled a giant sled of Double Crispy Colonel sandwiches weighing more than 700 pounds — the most chicken sandwiches ever recorded in an arm-over-arm pull.
- KFC released a three-minute video showing the challenge and telling the Double Crispy Colonel's story, including his move to Iceland, where Björnsson is from. The Double Crispy Colonel is available in three flavors: Smoky Mountain BBQ, Nashville Hot and Georgia Gold honey mustard BBQ.
KFC continues to expand its roster of Colonels, with Björnsson making an interesting addition to the long-running brand character's canon. Niche sports fans will recognize the 6' 9", roughly 400-pound athlete from his presence at World's Strongest Man and other strongman competitions, while pop culture followers might appreciate seeing The Mountain from HBO's "Game of Thrones" tackling a more light-hearted role. KFC actually appears to be catering more to the former audience with the push, noting its new sandwich "isn't for the weak" and producing a full three-minute segment showing a strength challenge that includes sports commentary.
Björnsson's appearance follows several other iterations of Colonel Sanders that have cropped up this year. Most recently, KFC tapped actor Jason Alexander, known for playing George Costanza on the TV series "Seinfeld," as the Family Colonel to promote new Fill Up meals at the chain. The campaign parodied '80s and '90s sitcoms. Earlier in the spring, KFC also brought back actor George Hamilton as the Extra Crispy Colonel to launch the initial version of the Crispy Colonel breaded chicken sandwich, which is viewed as a bid by KFC to more closely compete with fast-food rivals like Chick-fil-A and McDonald's.
KFC's marketing campaigns since resurrecting the Colonel as a mascot in 2015 seem to be striking a chord with consumers. The company saw a 2% increase in same-store sales growth for the most recent quarter, beating forecasts. Analysts have attributed KFC's success in part to its marketing, which has won back some of the younger consumers who had previously started to drift toward competitor brands.
Fast-food makreters like KFC might also have a potential to rebound with Gen Zers broadly. A recent Foursquare and Carat study found that Gen Z, which is forecast to have spending power exceeding $143 billion by 2020, is nearly 20% more likely to visit a fast-food restaurant than other generations.