KFC has a new colonel. This one claims to be the real one.
In May this year, KFC (known to old timers as Kentucky Fried Chicken) launched an ad campaign using Darrell Hammond as the iconic Colonel Sanders. Sanders started selling franchises in the 1950s, and sold the company in 1971. Harland Sanders died in 1980.
Reaction to Hammond’s version of Sanders was mixed. In late May, CEO Greg Creed of KFC’s parent company was quoted as saying “the response has been about 80% positive, 20% hate it.” Creed expressed gratitude the ads were having the desired effect: people were now talking about KFC after a period when the restaurants were beginning to lose relevance as most young adults had never eaten in one.
For many in the older generation, the response to Hammond had been basically “This is not Colonel Sanders.”—a sentiment expressed by the “real” Colonel, now portrayed by Norm Macdonald. (See the video above, released Sunday on KFC’s YouTube Channel.) How well this version of KFC’s founder will set with generations who grew up with the “finger lickin’ good” fried chicken and fixin’s remains to be seen. And, it will be interesting to see if KFC will be able to capture more of the millennial market.
If you are looking for the nearest KFC in the South Bend (or other) area, you can search for locations on the KFC website. A search on the site shows over 40 stores within a 65-mile radius of South Bend.
The younger generation does not have a picture in their mind of the Colonel Sanders who made commercials in the mid twentieth century. They only have the imitations of Hammond and MacDonald to give them some kind of idea who he was, and some in the older generation are complaining Sanders is being sorely misrepresented.
In 1 Corinthians 11:1, Paul tells the people in the church at Corinth, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.” [NKJV] It would be safe to say none, or almost none, of the Corinthians had ever met Jesus Christ physically. They had to take Paul at his word that the way he followed Christ was worthy of imitation. Today, we are even further removed, not having met Paul, or the Apostles, or other believers who had seen him personally. We have to rely on those who have gone before and recorded the words and works of Jesus, and the teachings which his followers claim came from him. And through the centuries, opinions among believers have varied as to how to interpret and apply those teachings to life. Certainly some have misrepresented the Lord they claim to follow.
The whole thing can be rather disconcerting. But it helps to look at what Jesus said his followers would be like.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” [John 13:34-35 NKJV]
Whatever else disciples—followers—of Christ may be, Jesus said what would mark their life would be love. While Jesus was here, he spent his time caring for the poor, sick, and outcast. Whatever else followers of Jesus may be, they are distinguished by the compassion they show for others. We don’t have the original Colonel Sanders, but KFC franchises have his recipe. The recipe for the Jesus follower is love.
Beware of loveless imitators.