NEW YORK — KFC is bringing back Colonel Sanders as the fried chicken chain seeks to refresh its image by harkening back to its past.
Sanders, who founded KFC, will be played by “Saturday Night Live” alumnus Darrell Hammond in TV commercials. The real Colonel Harland Sanders died nearly 35 years ago, and KFC hasn’t featured him in TV ads for about 20 years.
KFC also plans to redesign its restaurants with light fixtures shaped like chicken buckets and quotes from Colonel Sanders hanging on the wall.
For customers that don’t know who Colonel Sanders is, KFC is giving them an online history lesson. At ColonelSanders.com, the fast food chain gives details about Colonel Sanders’ past, including that he dropped out of school in the sixth grade. There’s also a video game on the site featuring Sanders, who was born in 1890.
It’s apparently a good time to be a marketing icon for a fast-food chain. The resurrection of Colonel Sanders comes a couple of weeks after rival McDonald’s said it would bring back its classic character, the Hamburglar, to TV ads. And Burger King’s creepy “King” character also made a cameo appearance at the boxing match between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquaio earlier this month.
KFC is owned by Louisville, Kentucky-based Yum Brands Inc., which also owns Taco Bell and Pizza Hut.