- KFC unveiled a limited-edition line of Colonel Sanders Pop! vinyl figures in partnership with collectibles brand Funko, according to a press release shared with Marketing Dive.
- One figure depicts the Colonel holding a bucket of fried chicken and will be available at select retailers. It was available for pre-order on Amazon but is no longer available. A second figure, showing the Colonel with his signature cane, was available exclusively at funko-shop.com, but sold out within 11 minutes.
- The new figures are the first Colonel Sanders Pop! collectibles, but Funko previously partnered with the brand on a 50th anniversary edition of Colonel Sanders Wacky Wobbler bobblehead in 2002.
KFC continues to unveil one-of-a-kind merchandise featuring the likeness of its iconic Colonel Sanders mascot. The partnership with Funko on Pop! collectible figures should help the fast-food chain boost brand awareness, as KFC is tapping into the Funko collectible craze and the company's ability to capitalize on pop culture fandom. The fact that one of the figurines sold out within minutes is evidence of that trend. Funko's sales have steadily increased, and collectors consistently seek out new limited-edition figures, which can increase in value over time.
Branded limited-edition merchandise, often with a quirky spin, has been a hallmark of KFC's marketing over the past few years. This week, KFC introduced a gravy-scented candle. For the 2018 holidays, the brand partnered with Enviro-Log to create firelogs that smell like KFC fried chicken.
Since bringing back its Colonel mascot in 2015, KFC has also incorporated its brand icon into many merchandise-focused campaigns. To promote its Hot Honey fried chicken items in September, KFC gave fans the chance to win a vintage-inspired, pull-string talking Colonel Bear, resembling the iconic bear-shaped honey bottles but with a white suit, glasses and goatee. The brand also gave away limited-edition Colonel-shaped pool floaties, with special holders for a bucket of chicken and beverages, for its Memorial Day push.
These oddball marketing efforts seem to be most resonating with Gen Z consumers, who are 20% more likely to visit fast-food restaurants than older age groups, research by Foursquare and Carat revealed. The demographic also listed KFC as one of its top 100 favorite brands, according to a Ypulse survey. The Yum Brands-owned KFC reported a 3% increase in same-store sales for Q3 2018, and a 7% increase in global sales, Nation's Restaurant News reported, hinting at a strong start to 2019.