February 8, 2016
Bring the Founder back into the picture.
Yesterday was glued-to-the-screen television for the populations of Colorado and the Carolinas; their NFL teams were in California engaged in the 50th staging of football’s biggest spectacle.
Zillions more were watching along with the hometown fans; for many, the commercials have become as anticipated as the scoring drives. Unnamed sources say that 30 second ads for the broadcast were scalping for $5000+ as game-time got closer. Careers are made and lost by the quality of the creative breaks from the action on the field.
It’s also a time when big announcements are made. Thirty-two years ago, Apple made history with their ad – 1984 – announcing the Macintosh computer. It only aired once, nationally – during the third quarter of Super Bowl XVIII – but it has been hailed as “a watershed event,” and “a masterpiece” by the marketing world.
Yesterday, KFC (old-timers may remember it as Kentucky Fried Chicken) went public with an earth-shaking disclosure: they’re bringing in a cast change. Jim Gaffigan is replacing Norm MacDonald (both comedians with prior records) in the role of Col. Harland Sanders.
For two decades, Sanders had been persona-non-grata in the public advertising, but in mid-2015, Darrell Hammond suddenly appeared in their national campaigns as the iconic Colonel. The real Harland Sanders had begun as a single-outlet restaurateur, operating from his gas station in Corbin, Kentucky during the Great Depression. In 1952, he opened their first franchise outlet in Utah – when Sanders was 62 years old – and grew the chain to 600 stores by 1964, when he sold the company to investors for $2 million. The deal included a lifetime salary for Sanders; he agreed to be responsible for quality control and to be the trademark for the brand. He died in 1980…
Fast food – and fried chicken – suffered setbacks during the rise-and-fall of health consciousness in America, but the brand continued to expand internationally. The Colonel disappeared from public view 21 years ago… and KFC mostly fell from grace on the dinner tables of the 21st Century.
But, in May last year, Hammond appeared in Sanders’ trademark white suit – with the black tie and white goatee – and Kentucky Fried Chicken started to regain its vibe. Sales climbed; Norm MacDonald became a less-quirky spokesman, and a piece of American roadside history was reinvited to the culture. With the Super Bowl transition to Gaffigan, their hope for the future is rooted in their past.
People related to compelling founders…
The first true international brand was launched about 2000 years ago by a Founder who was also dressed in a striking white outfit; from its meager beginning in Jerusalem, it has expanded around the world and now claims over 2 billion people as committed users. In the sophistication of the American faith market, some felt that an out-of-date figure from history might not have the power to draw a new, trendy generation into participation. Strangely, in some places, Jesus began to have less prominence in the promotion of the movement he had initiated…
Something powerful has been happening: Jesus has been re-introduced to the world through media. The Jesus Film Project has made the story of his life – produced as a feature film, for popular release, in 1979 – into the most translated (currently, 1400 languages) and most viewed (currently, 5 million views) of any movie in history. It’s the most widely used evangelism tool in Christian history.
The result? Hundreds of millions of people have indicated commitments to follow Jesus.
Go to the App store and download the Jesus Film app. Explore the home screen; go to Map at the bottom and fly-over the countries of the world. Click on one, and scroll the languages – and, the unique video products/depictions – that are re-introducing the Founder. Every regular gathering – formal, and informal; disclosed, and underground – is a church where the Founder connects with his followers.
Harland Sanders fried chickens; God the Father sacrificed a Lamb. Billions have been served, so far. Sanders is back in the ads; Jesus will be back in the future. When he comes, it’ll be bigger than Super Bowl 50…