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Why a Cantankerous Colonel Sanders Heralded the Arrival of KFC’s ‘Twosdays’


Courage’s Matt Miller and Tommy Yong speak to LBB’s Josh Neufeldt about shooting in a (possibly) haunted house, and all the preparation, research and effort it took to bring ‘The Colonel’ to life in a realistic way

Why a Cantankerous Colonel Sanders Heralded the Arrival of KFC’s ‘Twosdays’

Earlier this month, KFC Canada announced the return of ‘Twosdays’, a limited-time offer allowing Canadians to get two pieces of ‘Original Recipe’ chicken or tenders for the price of $2.99 (only on Tuesdays, of course). Considering the ever-rising cost of food across the country, it’s fair to say that this is a pretty good deal - a sentiment shared by many since its launch. 

However, there were (and still are) some who were not thrilled by this announcement. More specifically, creative agency Courage realised that the best way to promote this event was by depicting the one person who might be a little upset by a deal such as this - Colonel Sanders himself. Working with director Zach Math, the two looked into the life and mannerisms of ‘The Colonel’, seeking to accurately depict his reaction if he’d found out that his life’s work and pride were being sold for such a heavily discounted price. 

Beyond the main spot, The Colonel has sounded off against Twosdays through hilarious OOH, including a billboard vandalisation that saw the $2.99 price covered up by a mannequin version of the icon. 

LBB’s Josh Neufeldt sat down with Courage copywriter Matt Miller, and art director Tommy Yong to discuss how this well-seasoned campaign came to life. 

LBB> What was the brief, and what immediate ideas came to mind? 

Matt> The brief was simple (as most great briefs are): announce the ‘Twosdays’ two pieces for $2.99 deal that was coming to KFC. 

Tommy> The tension we played off was that $2.99 is a crazy low price in our current economy. Seriously, just look at grocery store prices! Anyhow, the price is so low that we wanted it to make customers wonder… ‘Are they even making money on this deal?’. So what better way to reassure people that you’re not just getting any chicken, but the ‘Original Recipe’ chicken that’s been sold for nearly 80 years, than with the founder himself? 

LBB> Creating memorable work is no small task. Did this add an extra degree of pressure? And why was a cantankerous Colonel Sanders the right approach for the job? 

Tommy> So much of what we see in the QSR space are deals. So, naturally, there was pressure to not be caught in the sea of sameness. Our challenge was to create a campaign that stuck in the minds of consumers, and that’s always a tall order. In the past, The Colonel has always been depicted as a showman - a mascot for the brand. This was our opportunity to show how he really behaved in the world, as a chef passionate about his ‘Finger Lickin’ Good’ chicken.

LBB> Tell us more about this depiction of Sanders! What was the research process like, and how did the takeaways factor into the creative process? 

Matt> The whole campaign is based on how he really acted in real life. He was super passionate when it came to keeping the food the same. He even once complained about KFC… to KFC (via a news publication), when he didn’t agree with how they did business. 

All in all, The Colonel complaining about KFC selling their chicken for an insultingly low price just felt like something he might have actually done. So we did it!

LBB> Sanders’ lines are hilarious! What was the writing process like? And how did you incorporate his mannerisms in a fun and memorable way, without leaning too far into stereotyping? 

Matt> The whole team had an absolute blast writing the spot! And it was definitely on us as a team to find the right balance between Kentucky gentleman and Foghorn Leghorn. Honestly, that came down to listening to old radio and TV interviews; he was a pretty outspoken man, ‘don’t ya know’. 

LBB> The spot was directed by Zach Math. What made him the right director for the job? 

Tommy> Zach was the perfect choice. He has done amazing work - including big Super Bowl spots in past years - and he’s one of the most collaborative comedy directors we’ve had the pleasure of working with.

A key part of the spot was the performance from The Colonel, and Zach’s superpower is getting authentic, hilarious performances out of the actors he works with. It just felt like a no-brainer. 

LBB> And who did you cast to play Sanders? What made them the perfect choice to bring The Colonel to life? 

Matt> We wanted our Sanders to be a mirror to the real Sanders, so naturally, casting felt a little daunting. We cast a wide net, looking for talent in Canada as well as in LA and other US markets. But. when we found Robert Wills, it was like a sigh of relief. There was The Colonel right there in front of us. Robert is a warm person who can also bring the heat when you need him. Having that sweet-to-salty change on screen was everything for us. 

LBB> Where did you shoot, and if you were on set, what was the experience like?

Tommy> We spent one day in this beautiful farmhouse in Mississauga, Ontario. Fun fact: The Colonel actually lived in Mississauga for a slice of his life. 

Matt> We were 99% sure that house was haunted. Some lights would just go on and off on their own, and the basement was creaking. Chills. But I ain’t afraid of no ghosts! 

LBB> The showcase of the fried chicken at the end is quite fun, and it looks very tasty! How did you work with the director to approach shooting the food? 

Tommy> We wanted to make sure that we didn’t just see the chicken sitting in a box, but being enjoyed by customers. To this end, Zach brought forward the idea of The Colonel returning to his southern hospitality when serving his beloved food to his customers. Ultimately, the shot looked beautiful, and gave us a natural way to see the delicious chicken in all its glory. 

LBB> The spot has been adapted to several other formats. As such, what went into showcasing The Colonel’s dissatisfaction, without being able to physically depict him saying it? 

Matt> The social content we created with The Colonel was designed for a social-led, sound-off environment, with a simple concept of ‘Not everyone’s happy. But you will be’. It just became a playground for us and Devon Ferguson, a hilarious comedy director. We treated it like a writer’s room where we threw every idea at the wall and then shot as many social bits as possible. 

LBB> What challenges have you faced during this project, and what lessons have you learned?

Tommy> We put a Colonel mannequin on a billboard - covering up the $2.99 price. That was a challenge. Where do you even start? How do you design a billboard to be vandalised? That was a first. It just came down to working with our media partners at Wavemaker. 

Beyond that, what we learned is that there’s a way to make any idea possible with the right partners. So, thank you to all of our partners who worked so collaboratively to make this happen! 

LBB> How have people reacted to this campaign?

Matt> My cousin sent it to me, not knowing I’d worked on it. I think that means we passed the ‘Is this actually funny?’ litmus test. Beyond that, there’s been nothing but positive responses. Our team couldn’t be prouder of the work! 

LBB> Is there anything you’d like to add? 

Tommy> After a campaign goes live, it’s always a good exercise to take a step back and look at what you actually created. We don’t do that enough, so thank you for the interview. It gave us that perspective. 

Matt> I couldn’t agree more! This was a great way to reflect on the campaign, and it’s been a pleasure chatting!

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Courage , Fri, 28 Apr 2023 15:40:48 GMT