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KFC Spices Up the Colonel With Dating Game, Drawing Horror and Delight
Sept. 24, 2019 | WSJ | By Sarah E. Needleman.

KFC pitchman Colonel Sanders is joining the dating scene, in the latest example of how brands are trying to appeal to new generations of consumers.

The real Colonel Harland Sanders, known for sporting browline glasses, a black Western bow tie and snow-white hair, died in 1980 at age 90. The iconic persona of the 67-year-old fast-food chain has lived on in various forms, though, including in a series of ads since 2015 starring a rotating cast of celebrities.

More youthful and fit than ever, he now stars in a new videogame released Tuesday that invites players to try to win his heart.

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In “I Love You, Colonel Sanders! A Finger Lickin’ Good Dating Simulator,” made by New York and Los Angeles studio Psyop Inc., the Colonel is a lanky cartoon chef who could pass for a millennial hipster. Players answer a series of questions that determine their fate as they navigate a virtual kitchen in hopes of impressing him with their chicken-frying savvy.

The project targets fans of both anime and dating simulations, said Jarrod Higgins, creative director of KFC’s advertising agency, Wieden+Kennedy. In April, KFC introduced a computer-generated, chiseled male model inspired by the poultry pitchman in a series of campy Instagram photos.

“We’ve definitely strayed from the original recipe here,” said Adriane Pontecorvo, a 29-year-old radio DJ in Bloomington, Ind., of the chef’s new, sexy persona. “I’m very into it.”

Others aren’t amused. Dianne Klein, who worked at a KFC restaurant in Fair Oaks, Calif., as a teenager in the 1970s, can’t stomach the notion of dating any version of the Colonel. The eatery, at the time, had a large, plastic statue of the elderly entrepreneur outside its doors that reminded her of Santa Claus, she said.

“Obviously this is not my demo they’re going after,” said Ms. Klein, chief of staff at the University of California’s investment arm.

The Colonel isn’t the only mascot to age in reverse. In 2012, Quaker Oats gave its venerable Quaker man “Larry” a shorter haircut and more exposed shoulders to look burlier, though not sexy. Procter & Gamble Co. ’s Mr. Clean and Georgia-Pacific’s Brawny man have also had makeovers to help those brands appeal to younger consumers.

Nailing down the right new look can be challenging. In the early 2000s, Leo Burnett executives spent months studying a refresh of Pillsbury Co.’s famous doughboy Poppin’ Fresh, said Cheryl Berman, former chairman and creative chief at the ad agency, a unit of Publicis Groupe SA . They considered giving the mascot a girlfriend, as well as making him larger and more agile, among other possibilities. Ultimately no changes were made to the decades-old pudgy brand ambassador, Ms. Berman said.

“Research said don’t touch him, so we freshened and evolved his stories, but not him,” said Ms. Berman, now head of Chicago creative firm Unbundled LLC.

The stakes are high. Many people weren’t lovin’ it when McDonald’s Co. gave Ronald McDonald a hip, urban look with cargo pants and a red jacket in 2014. Critics took to social media, calling the iconic clown “Ronald McDouche,” for example, while Esquire at the time said the new look resembled a “serial killer’s church outfit.”

Rolling out new versions of the Colonel is serious business for a chain that is trying to maintain sales growth, while battling competitors like Chick-fil-A Inc. and Restaurant Brands Inc.’s Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen. In various ad campaigns over the years, the pitchman has been played by celebrities such as actors Reba McEntire and Ray Liotta.

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“Our strategy has been to find new, interesting and provocative ways to make the Colonel a part of pop culture,” said Andrea Zahumensky, marketing chief for KFC U.S., part of Yum Brands Inc., in a statement. “He’s always our north star.”

Using videogames and social media to reach consumers is a popular method for advertisers since more people, especially younger audiences, are watching less traditional television and aren’t exposed as much to TV commercials, said Allen Adamson, co-founder of Metaforce LLC, a New York marketing agency. But it isn’t a guaranteed recipe for success.

“There isn’t always a direct correlation between getting noticed and selling a product,” Mr. Adamson said. “The question remains, will they sell an extra bucket of chicken or not?”

Tyler LeBeau, a 31-year-old IT worker from Chicago who also wrestles and regularly plays videogames, said KFC’s new dating game isn’t appealing. “It doesn’t spark my fryer,” he said.

Write to Sarah E. Needleman at
KFC  videogames  restaurants  marketing 
september 2019 by jerryking
Four Lessons from Rockstar Games: The Innovator...
September 18, 2013 | Quora | by Ross Simmonds [Life & Pixels]
(1) Give The Customers What They Want - When you focus on giving your customers what they want, the media and customers will do the talking for you. Creating an impact doesn't happen by saying you're going to make one. It happens from actually doing it.
(2) Don't Be Afraid To Break The Rules - In business, it's more important than ever to push boundaries. To be successful, you need to do things that other people question but you know is going to be right for your clients, partners, employees or customers. As the world gets smaller, the importance of pushing boundaries and striving for greatness is at an all-time high. When you're thinking about how your business can generate some additional press or how you could win new business - think differently.
(3) Don't Be Afraid To Kill Your Bad Puppies - It's the idea of killing something that is at the core of what makes you feel uncomfortable....In business, the initial stages of customer research and product development are just one part of the puzzle. As you build your business and establish a client base, you're required to make more decisions as new opportunities arise with your business growth. Decision making quickly becomes a key part of your job as you're forced to make choices on a daily basis...It's our obsession with the past and our own creations that hold our businesses back from continuing to evolve and grow.
(4)Take Pride In The Entire Experience--A great business is one that sweats the little things. It's a business that focuses on the minor details and ensures that their entire business is built on the idea of an experience....At the end of the day, you can get excited about using Instagram for a new promotion or work relentlessly on developing a great content marketing strategy but if your product sucks, you'll fail. The key for business success is to be mindful of these four lessons as you build your business and strive to make it grow.
lessons_learned  culling  customer_satisfaction  execution  detail_oriented  games  rule_breaking  customer_centricity  videogames  kill_rates  Pablo_Picasso  innovators  hard_work  think_differently  stage-gate  attrition_rates 
september 2013 by jerryking
30,000 orders for a gadget not yet built - The Globe and Mail

The Globe and Mail (includes correction)

Published Wednesday, Jun. 19 2013
Wallace_Immen  start_ups  Kickstarter  wireless  videogames  challenges  connected_devices  wearables 
june 2013 by jerryking
VC Firms Look for Action in Gaming
April 28, 2003 | Globe & Mail | by Showwei Chu, Technology Reporter
venture_capital  vc  videogames 
march 2013 by jerryking
Boxed In
December 2002 | Report on Business Magazine pg. 23 | by Saleem Khan
videogames  venture_capital  law_firms  digital_media  entertainment_industry 
march 2013 by jerryking
For Tech's Elite, Mobile Gaming Is a Big Play -
For Tech's Elite, Mobile Gaming Is a Big Play
Best and Brightest See the Sector as Chance for Fun and Massive Payoff
mobile_applications  HBS  Zynga  Facebook  gaming  videogames  personal_payoffs  the_best_and_brightest 
november 2011 by jerryking
Fugu Talk :: The IGDA Health Plan
2009 11 18 | Fugu Talk | Philip Chu. references the freelance ecosystem
freelancing  ecosystems  healthcare  videogames  gig_economy 
october 2010 by jerryking
SSRN-Authentic Learning Experiences Through Play: Games, Simulations and the Construction of Knowledge by Lisa Galarneau
Authentic Learning Experiences Through Play: Games, Simulations and the Construction of Knowledge

Lisa L. Galarneau
University of Waikato

videogames  simulations 
september 2009 by jerryking

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