Not since People named Blake Shelton 2017’s Sexiest Man Alive has a man been so undeserving of sex appeal. But this week, Colonel Sanders, real-life founder of KFC and long-running mascot, is now the hottest snack on the market.
KFC partnered with Lifetime for A Recipe for Seduction, an original “mini-movie” starring Mario Lopez as the soul-patched, white-suit-wearing chicken connoisseur. It’s… a long advertisement masquerading as a TV movie. The trailer looks soapy and contrived, which is everything we’ve grown to love from Lifetime movies.
Oddly, this isn’t the first time KFC sexed up the Colonel. They’ve cultivated a concerningly long list of attempts to posthumously himbo-fy the chicken man: There’s anime Sanders, Rob Lowe Sanders and even Reba Sanders.
You could simply chalk it up to Rule 34 of the Internet: Porn exists of everything. If The Simpsons’ Ned Flanders and the Inside Out dad are sex icons, it shouldn’t be so surprising that this Southern dandy has sex appeal. Still, it feels — to be generous — incongruent for the moment. In an era where brands are rightfully being called to change their antiquated and often outright racist mascots, it’s noxious to make people lust for the Kentucky chicken guy.
This is, of course, KFC’s intent. In 2015, ad agency Wieden and Kennedy took over the KFC account, reintroducing Sanders in DC comics, romance novels and even as an AI influencer. (The last Sanders definitely gives you gonorrhea and sends you a One Medical gift card as an apology.)
They’ve also trotted out a series of male celebrities with dad appeal to embody Sanders. Each iteration keeps his signature silver-fox hair, black Western bowtie and air of Southern hospitality. Jason Alexander, Sean Astin and Ray Liotta are among the many offerings. Who will be next? Probably David Dobrik, John Corbett or another sensible-looking white dude.
Last year, KFC said I will get you to fuck a drumstick by introducing “Chickendales,” a little bit of Chippendale-dancer wordplay. Chickendale Sanders has six-pack abs, a sharp jawline and a suspiciously hairless chest. But the sexy Mother’s Day ad lacked any of the 11 spices in their original chicken recipe, because this Magic Mike Sanders clearly doesn’t eat from his carb-heavy menu.
Much like the efforts to hide Mr. Peanut’s cannibalistic capitalism, these repeated attempts to sexualize Sanders feel as nauseating as eating an entire bucket meal with sides and biscuits. There’s nothing sexy about forcing thirst for a mascot, especially when he’s played by Lopez — who just last year said it’s “dangerous” for parents to support their transgender children. Who approved this casting?
So, I beg you, KFC, please don’t make me want to fuck the problematic chicken guy. If you really want to do it right, give Colonel Sanders an OnlyFans. It’s the best place to show breast and thigh these days.