Watch: KFC's U.S. CMO on Mario Lopez's turn as Colonel Sanders
Welcome to Ad Age Remotely, a streamed video segment focusing on the issues of the day.
In this live episode of Ad Age Remotely, Jessica Wohl is joined by Andrea Zahumensky, KFC's U.S. chief marketing officer.
KFC's latest celebrity colonel is Mario Lopez, whose campaign comes with 15 minutes of fame, in the form of a Lifetime mini-movie.
"A Recipe for Seduction" sounds like the title of a Lifetime movie, because that's exactly what it is. It's a 15-minute send-up of all of the plot points Lifetime viewers have come to expect from the cable channel's holiday movies, layered together with KFC marketing. Lopez plays a young Harland Sanders in the branded custom mid-form content. He's a chef with "a secret recipe that's going to change the world," as Jessica, whose planned engagement is disrupted when she meets the chef, says in a teaser released Monday.
KFC and Lifetime, along with KFC's creative agency Wieden+Kennedy Portland, began working on the mini-movie 18 months ago. It was shot in late October under COVID-19 protocols.
“We know what audiences love about Lifetime movies, so our creative team took the lead on scripting the story to make sure it had the same sensibilities and struck all the beats of a Lifetime Original movie—from romance to drama to intrigue,” says David DeSocio, executive VP of ad sales marketing and partnerships at A+E Networks. “Then KFC added their brand elements and the cast brought it all to life.”
The film will debut on Lifetime at noon on Dec. 13, followed by an encore presentation of "Feliz NaviDAD," a Lifetime holiday movie starring Lopez. “A Recipe for Seduction” will also be available on MyLifetime.com, the Lifetime app, Lifetime video on demand and Lifetime’s social media channels.
Other brands with marketing integrations during the channel’s “It’s A Wonderful Lifetime” 10-week holiday stretch include Mrs. Fields Cookies and JustFab. But KFC’s work is by far the biggest project.