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KFC, another level of influencer marketing

KFC launched a new marketing campaign that might be taking influencer marketing to another level. The campaign is in collaboration with the Influencer: “Colonel”. Yes you read it right. Except that it is not the real Colonel Sanders, the founder of the famous fast food restaurant chain, unless he’s Instagraming from the other side.

A CGI with a personality

KFC created a virtual influencer called Colonel who is based on the modern day Instagram influencers. KFC Colonel has a neat clothing style, grey beard and well coiffed hair, even perfectly coiffed. Colonel was announced on Twitter and you can follow his updates on Instagram.

More than looks, the CGI influencer has a detailed personality. Colonel is a business man on the move. He shares pictures of himself on private planes, in meeting rooms, doing activities such as taking pictures with fans and more. Colonel even announces collaborations and upcoming news of the brand, for example KFC’s partnership with Dr. Pepper. So, he’s a brand representative in every way, and he seems to be doing a good job; based on the increasing fame he’s getting.

KFC Colonel shares a post on Instagram – paid partnership with Dr. Pepper

For years, the Colonel was established as the face of the brand. Everyone recognizes Colonel Sanders even if they don’t know his name or his story, but they associate it with KFC. Many actors had the chance to play the role of Colonel Sanders, of course represented as 50 yrs old man. However, this 3D character is a first for the brand. The KFC team even gave Colonel his own hashtag #secretrecipeforsuccess, a phrase that is also tattooed on his abs.

Colonel’s posts show the perfect Instagram mockup of an Instagram influencer; living the life or as his bio states “chasing the dream.” In addition, the influencer does his share of social media activities: posts, stories, and even answering fans’ numerous questions:

KFC Colonel answers followers’ questions on Instagram stories 

A glance at influencer marketing

Looking back at the timeline of “Influencer Marketing,” many would argue that long before the digital age, it started with the Pope and the Queen. They used to endorse medicine in order to promote it to people who didn’t believe in medicine back then. Brands started a new wave of marketing strategies with brand advocates or characters to attract more consumers. These advocates vary from the Marlboro Man to the Old Spice Man campaign, fasting forward to the modern day social media influencers. In the last 2 centuries, we witnessed the integration of influencer marketing in many formats.  Nowadays, most brands have adopted influencer marketing through the digital media. In 2018, more than 2 million influencer posts were shared on Instagram. Pretty Impressive!

So, is this taking influencer marketing to another level?

We must raise the question: Do people really care if social media posts are posted by a real PERSON?

People are already interacting with Colonel as a real person; they ask him questions and react to his posts. Even though they are aware that it’s a 3D character and a marketing tool, people seem to enjoy this interaction. The posts by Colonel – that he supposedly posts himself- are receiving a lot of hype, getting many reactions and starting conversations on both Instagram and Twitter. If we can learn one thing from this marketing campaign, is that social media users don’t actually care who is behind social media accounts, as long as the content speaks to them. People go on Instagram to scroll through and enjoy content. The Virtual Influencer Colonel is for sure a great way to catch the followers’ attention. There are already signs of the effectiveness of this marketing strategy since users are starting conversations about the brand on other social media platforms. With the success of this campaign, we might be looking into a future with virtual influencers who set even more perfect and unrealistic life style standards on social media.

Anyways, we’ll see more accurate results of this unique campaign in the coming days. All we know is that this talk made us crave some chicken…

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