There's a seismic shift in young people that is big trouble for KFC

KFC is desperate to reach millennials. However, the chicken chain’s traditional methods aren’t working.

“Young people are growing up with distrust in institutions, distrust in big brands,” Kevin Hochman, KFC’s chief marketing officer, told the Associated Press. “It makes it very difficult to sell in conventional ways that might have worked for my generation or my parents’ generation.”

Hochman says that KFC data indicates that only two out of five millennials have even tried KFC.

The company’s solution has been to majorly invest in marketing starring Colonel Sanders.

“We’re bringing back that over-the-top chicken salesman because millennials understand the joke,” Hochman told the Associated Press. “They get that we’re running toward the idea of over-the-top selling.”

Hochman calls the process of returning to KFC’s Sanders-centric roots “re-Colonelization.” In addition to a marketing campaign starring Colonel Sanders, the brand is additionally working to freshen up to the food to the Colonel’s standards.

The food revamp may be a change that Sanders would respect. After he sold KFC, Sanders was known for saying that the company had changed his original recipes and begun serving food that wasn’t fit to serve his dogs.

About one in five customers reported that they hated the new Sanders advertising campaign when it launched last year. However, the chain’s same-store sales grew 3% in fiscal 2015, after dropping more than 15% two years earlier — a growth that company executives and analysts credit to the return of the Colonel.

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