Best of 2016 No. 7 Interactive/Integrated -- You Might Get Tingly Listening to the Colonel Munch on Extra Crispy Chicken in KFC's ASMR Video

Brand Taps Into the ASMR Phenomenon in Latest Film Starring George Hamilton

Published On
Jul 11, 2016

Editor's Pick

Through New Year's, we'll be counting down the best work of the year in TV/Film/Branded Content, Print/Outdoor/Design and Interactive/Integrated as our picks of the day.

At #7 in our Interactive/Integrated category is KFC's recent highly successfuly effort to refresh its brand by using multiple personalities playing one person: the chain's founder, Colonel Harland Sanders. Wieden & Kennedy Portland's work -- which included an ASMR video, featured here, the launch of "Extra Crispy Sunscreen" to go with George Hamilton's Extra Crispy Colonel, and the likes of Vincent Kartheiser playing the Colonel -- earned KFC a place on AdAge's Marketer A-List this year.

Original story:

If you haven't yet been introduced to the world of ASMR, KFC's Colonel Sanders will give you a hilarious peek into the practice in the brand's latest funny film.

In the online video created out of Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, KFC's first "Extra Crispy" Colonel, played by the eternally bronze actor George Hamilton, quietly entrances viewers as he folds and scrunches squares of silk, schooling them in the art of pocket square accessorizing. From time to time, he takes a break to bite into pieces of fried chicken. All throughout, his voice never reaches past whisper level so as not to compete with the sounds of his fingers rubbing across fabric and his teeth crunching into KFC's extra crispy skin. The film is meant to cater to fans of the the pleasurable sensation known as Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) -- a feel-good tingling some experience when they hear soft and ambient sounds, largely through online videos.

KFC Chief Marketing Officer Kevin Hochman explained, "Most people don't realize that KFC offers an Extra Crispy Chicken recipe in addition to our Original Recipe. Because our Extra Crispy Chicken is double breaded and open fried, it has an amazing, distinctive crunch. Just like George Hamilton was the perfect fit as our Extra Crispy Colonel, we think Extra Crispy Chicken was the perfect choice for the phenomenon of ASMR. We're excited about our first foray into ASMR, and we hope it showcases our love of fried chicken."

"George Hamilton was having a lot of fun with the character," said Wieden & Kennedy Copywriter Shaine Edwards. "So we were very excited when we explained what ASMR was and he said yes. Actually, he whispered yes."

KFC debuted the film on July 6, National Fried Chicken Day, but it seems ASMR aficionados have made KFC a part of their practice for years, as you'll see in a slew of online videos that have been around for years featuring people chowing down quietly on KFC fare.

KFC isn't the first brand to dive into ASMR. Last November, Dove chocolate tapped into the phenomenon for a China campaign.