KFC has a new Colonel Sanders—sort of. Actor George Hamilton (who, his Wikipedia page notes, "is, perhaps, most famous for his debonair style and his perfect and perpetual suntan") will play the "Extra Crispy Colonel" in ads for the chain's Extra Crispy Chicken. "Extra Crispy Chicken is fried to a golden brown. George Hamilton isn't fried to a golden brown, but he is tanned to a golden brown," KFC's chief marketing officer explains to Business Insider. "I like to think that I know a thing or two about being extra crispy," Hamilton says in a press release. "One could argue that my entire career has been leading up to this role." He's the fourth Colonel since the character was revived in marketing last year; the first two were Darrell Hammond and Norm MacDonald. Jim Gaffigan, the current Colonel, will continue playing the role in Original Recipe chicken ads.
As the CMO explains, more than 50% of customers don't even realize the chain offers two different recipes of chicken; this is the first time it's been specifically marketed in eight years. The extra crispy recipe involves double breading and open frying the chicken to make it crunchier. In addition to his marvelous tan, Hamilton has a "panache" to him, KFC's CMO tells Ad Age, and "the Extra Crispy lifestyle is about living life with a little more panache." Adding a Colonel specifically to represent Extra Crispy chicken "points toward a multidimensional universe where there's a different Colonel for each type of chicken," FastCo.Create notes. "Tender Colonel, a Grilled Colonel, a Popcorn Nugget Colonel, etc. Casting for these Colonels should be a hoot."