Yes, Another New Colonel Sanders, This Time With Hairspray

Jimmy Johnson is the Latest to Don the White Suit in New FOX NFL Sunday Tie-In

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Advertising Age Player

So far this year, we've seen Darrell Hammond and Norm Macdonald play Colonel Sanders for KFC. Now, since it's football season, it's Jimmy Johnson's turn.

A new :30 spot is the latest step in an ongoing marketing partnership between Yum Brands' KFC and Fox Sports. A member of the Fox Sports' brand activation team, led by Sarah Tourville, tossed around the idea after seeing Mr. Hammond and then Mr. Macdonald playing the chain's founder in spots this year. The plan came together with KFC and its agency Wieden & Kennedy, as well as media buying agency Media Edge.

Increasingly, brands are looking for ways to stand out as TV viewers fast forward through traditional spots, especially during shows that they watch after they air. Sports are a sweet spot, as fans generally want to watch live. Pregame shows, in particular, appeal to dedicated fans and Fox NFL Sunday has been the most-watched NFL pregame show for 21 straight seasons.

Jimmy Johnson as Colonel Sanders
Jimmy Johnson as Colonel Sanders Credit: FOX NFL Sunday

The Colonel Sanders spot features close ups of Mr. Johnson getting dressed for the show, including donning the white suit, close ups of his Super Bowl rings, and of course, lots of hairspray. Mr. Johnson repeatedly says "attention to detail" as he sprays his well-groomed coif. The spot first aired during Fox NFL Sunday on Nov. 15 and is set to air during the show in each of the next seven weeks, Fox Sports executives said.

KFC tie-ins with Fox NFL Sunday in the past have included a "KFC red" couch on the set as part of the chain's "Couchgating" campaign.

"We have always found ways to kind of raise the bar every year," said Neil Mulcahy, exec VP-Fox Sports ad sales. He calls the latest collaboration a "prommercial," or a way to promote Fox Sports and run a commercial that promotes the sponsor, KFC. Host Curt Menefee might mention the spot leading into the break, giving it additional attention.

KFC's spending on the Fox Sports tie-in is unclear. Industry sources with knowledge of the commercial pricing for Fox NFL Sunday say :30 of air time can run $100,000 to $120,000. KFC's campaign also includes digital elements, such as additional videos and articles.

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