On Creativity through Jan. 1, we’ll be revisiting some of the brand ideas and campaigns that made 2019—and the last decade. Check back on AdAge.com in the new year for the full lists.
Best of 2019
As if Colonel Sanders’ many iterations (courtesy of celebrities like Rob Lowe, Jason Alexander and Reba McIntyre) weren’t enough to inspire fan love, in 2019 he became the object of desire in a dating simulator video game from Wieden & Kennedy Portland. “I Love You, Colonel Sanders” challenges players to a series of challenges in order to win the Colonel’s heart. Available on Steam, it’s earned a 9 out of 10 rating from gamers.
KFC and Wieden & Kennedy have conceived so many ideas around modernizing Colonel Sanders that they’ve already come around to refreshing the old ones. When the fast feeder and agency first began their quest to make the company’s famed founder mascot relevant for today, they debuted an 8-bit videogame that introduced the world to the Colonel’s storied history (which included turns as an amateur obstetrician and aspiring lawyer). Then, there was that moment when the Colonel entered the WWE ring and also ended up in a wrestling-themed title.
Now, he’s the heartthrob at the center of a dating simulator game set to drop on Steam on September 24.
“I Love You Colonel Sanders” gives you, the player, a chance to win the heart of the company’s white-suited, bolo-tied founder. The premise, according to KFC, is this: You are a student at a culinary institution called University of Cooking School: Academy for Learning. Colonel Sanders, it seems, will be a fellow student, who enrolls as part of his quest to become the world’s greatest chicken salesman. Through three different acts, you have to tackle the mental, physical and social challenges of the kitchen while working your way into the Colonel’s heart. From the visual and musical stylings of the trailer (and the sound of the plot), the idea seems to pull from the soapy textbook of Japanese manga and anime. Production company Psyop, which has created other fantastic ads in this genre, helped to create the game.