KFC just brought back the brand’s mascot, Colonel Sanders, to its TV ads after a 21-year hiatus — and some people aren’t thrilled about it.
One out of five people hate the ads, according to Greg Creed, the CEO of KFC parent company Yum! Brands.
But Creed says that’s great news for KFC.
“So far the response has been about 80% positive, 20% hate it,” Creed said at a conference in New York Wednesday, according to industry journal Food Business News. “And I am actually quite happy that 20% hate it, because now they at least have an opinion. They’re actually talking about KFC, and you can market to love and hate; you cannot market to indifference.”
He said KFC has “lost relevance” in the US, noting that 60% of millennials had not eaten at the fried chicken chain.
Chick-fil-A last year surpassed KFC to become the No. 1 chicken chain the US by sales, and with just a fraction of KFC’s stores.
Chick-fil-A had about 1,900 US stores last year and $US6 billion in sales, compared to KFC’s 4,800 stores and $US4.2 billion in sales.
KFC is hoping that the Colonel, who is played by comedian and former “Saturday Night Live” regular Darrell Hammond, will strike a chord with millennials.
The company is also trying to boost sales, which grew 3% last year, by redesigning its restaurants with this new interior:
“When I joined Taco Bell in 2001, each of the three U.S. brands [owned by Yum!] made about the same amount of money,” Creed said, according to Food Business News. “These days, Taco Bell probably makes three times what it made, and KFC probably makes about a third of what it made. So I think the upside in the U.S. in making ourselves relevant again from a profit point of view is enormous.”
Here’s the new ad starring Colonel Sanders.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.