Regardless of your feelings about greasy fast-food fried chicken, KFC’s latest marketing push is kind of genius: Today it announced the formation of its very own (sadly fictional) pro football team, the Kentucky Buckets.
Clad in red-and-white uniforms with signature striped socks and helmets that actually resemble a bucket of the state’s most world-famous food export, deep-fried poultry, the Buckets seem like an all-too-appropriate choice to represent Kentucky, a state which has precisely zero pro sports teams.
Coaching the imaginary team is KFC’s latest pick for Colonel: actor Rob Riggle, whom many will recognize from The Daily Show, Saturday Night Live, and countless TV and movie cameos. The team’s mascot is a giant fake bucket of chicken, obviously.
A press release notes that as a retired Lt. Colonel in the Marine Corps Reserve, Riggle “is the first actual colonel to take on the role of KFC’s famous founder” (not even the real Colonel Sanders was an actual colonel); conveniently, he was also born in Kentucky.
KFC seems to be appointing new Colonels at breakneck speed these days: Since resurrecting the iconic character in mid-2015, the chain has cycled through actors Darrell Hammond, Norm Macdonald, and Jim Gaffigan. In June it revealed George Hamilton as the “Extra Crispy” Colonel, and now Riggle has climbed aboard as “Coach Colonel.”
Is having this many Colonels on the payroll actually boosting sales for the chicken chain? Maybe so: Earlier this year KFC reported its seventh straight quarter of sales growth at locations that have been open for at least a year.