Posts Tagged ‘Yum foods’

The Colonel Really Did Exist

September 22, 2010

You probably already know there really was a guy named Colonel Sanders (For that matter, there really was a Wendy, though Ronald McDonald never existed, at least not in real life.). The reason I’m telling you something you may already know is that many kids don’t happen to know that there really was a Colonel Sanders.

It seems the Kentucky Fried Chicken brand has become so successful and the cartoon image of Harlan Sanders so well known that people have begun to assume that the “colonel” is about as real Aunt Jemima.

What this Means for KFC‘s Branding

For most companies, this really would be a non issue. After-all, if the marketing works, who cares whether the icon is real of fake? No one cares after all that the Geico Gecko isn’t real; they still love him anyway.

KFC parent company Yum Foods, however, was quite perturbed when a recent survey showed that 52% of young Americans thought the Colonel was fictional. To be fair, the Colonel moniker is a bit misleading–Mr. Sanders was never in the military. “Colonel” was an honorary title bestowed on many southern gentlemen in the late 19th and early 20th century.

What do Investors Think?

The move has confused investors who watch the company given that they have recently given up on the Kentucky Fried Chicken name, preferring to refer to themselves by the famous initials.

The company has also struggled to reposition itself in a world which is increasingly health conscious, trying to at the same time tell customers that their buckets of fried chicken were “finger lickin’ good” while also insisting that they offered healthy eating choices.

Return of the Colonel?

In fact, the controversy over giving up on the Colonel’s original recipe and trying to come up with a healthier fare led to some franchise owners suing the company, claiming that the franchise was destroying the brand name.

Given that sales have been down lately, some have wondered if that could be a fair assessment . Some analysts believe the effort to revive the Colonel’s name is the beginning of a move to return to their roots.