KFC dusts off Colonel Sanders for new ad campaign

“I’m back, America.”

And with a throaty chuckle, another fast food chain dusts off an old mascot to address the nation.

A couple of weeks after McDonald’s Hamburglar robble-robbled back into our lives, KFC announced Tuesday that the fried chicken chain has resurrected Colonel Harland Sanders to mark its 75th anniversary.

KFC plans to roll out a new television ad campaign featuring its iconic founder as played by “Saturday Night Alum” alumnus Darrell Hammond. Several promos appeared on the chain’s YouTube channel, including a so-called State of Kentucky Fried Chicken Address.

“It’s an honor to bring to life such an iconic figure,” Hammond said in a statement, “and it doesn’t hurt that KFC is paying me in chicken (which, at the time, sounded like a good idea because I was very hungry that day.”

The TV commercials, which will begin airing May 25, “will playfully explore the juxtaposition between the Colonel’s heyday and modern culture,” KFC said in a press release. So far, Sanders is seen walking around, singing and handing out chicken in one spot and professing his love of mandolin music in another.

Video by KFC

The real Sanders died in 1980 and hasn’t been featured in TV ads for 20 years, the Associated Press reported. KFC also plans to redesign its restaurants and add new menu items.

It remains to be seen if this attempt from KFC and other fast food chains will attract a younger demographic, who are flocking to fast-casual competitors such as Chipotle and Five Guys.

“Increasingly, younger diners are seeking out fresher, healthier food and chains that offer customizable menu options for little more than the price of a combo meal,” The Wall Street Journal reported.

According to CNN Money, Kentucky-based Yum Brands, Inc., which owns KFC and Pizza Hut, has fared better than McDonald’s, but Yum’s overall sales growth still pales in comparison to the fast casual brands, including Panera and Shake Shack.

Taco Bell, which is also owned by Yum, launched an ad campaign in March that all but stopped short of calling McDonald’s a bunch of communists. Taco Bell has yet to recruit Gidget, or its chihuahua mascot, to help in the fast food wars.