So the Colonel has improved his buns.

No, not those buns. (C’mon, I’m in research, I’m not allowed to be saucy.) But, that really is what the Colonel tried to tell people this past week. That his buns are better…than the other guys, that is. At least, I think. Let’s watch it together and then discuss . . .

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Am I being too hard on the old coot, or did the Colonel’s commercial about his new sandwich fail to fully take off?

As I was saying earlier, I’m in research (something that doesn’t make me a big hit at parties, by the way), which means I have the goods, so I decided to bite into the current KFC conundrum. My gut told me that it wasn’t the chicken’s fault. And as it turns out, I was right. People answered all kinds of questions saying the product made them really hungry.

So I asked myself, “How can this ad just be coming in at the dreaded average when the product itself was so motivating?”

I decided to look at what people really looked at.

Here’s what I like to call “Exhibit 1.”


Let me explain this fancy graph I’ve created. I put the opening images from the ad across the x axis and the % of people saying they remembered it along the y axis.

You see, in the first couple of seconds, the spot starts off by hooking most viewers with the images of the conveyor belt of the “other guys’” subpar buns. At the fifth image, we hear the voiceover say that the Colonel knows better than those other guys. At this point, 50% of the audience had already left the conversation. Not good. You can’t finish presenting a case that you never really started.

Here’s something more to chew on.

Maybe by this point in the ad the Colonel has already lost you. Now let’s say you look back at your TV and you see the following images. Do these people really look like they’re testifying to the Colonel’s mad culinary skills?

I propose that none of these people really looks all that psyched to be eating the new KFC chicken sammy, especially the lady in the third frame.

Keep in mind, what the actress said at that very point was “who thought of Hawaiian bread?” Almost 50% of the people who watched this ad don’t remember that line. And if I remember correctly, the point of the ad seemed to be that the bread should be as special as the chicken.

In Closing
I’m really not trying to Colonel bash here. My point is that a lot of time and resources went into creating this ad. And I know no one wants their baby to be considered average. But along the way it feels like the Colonel didn’t optimize his ad (as we like to say in the biz). It appears that that there was something left off of the proverbial plate.

Sorry, Colonel. It looks like this week, distracted by your new buns, you temporarily took your eye off the flock.

But, that’s my version of the story – I’d love to hear yours . . .