Was KFC Founder a Real Person?

A new survey of American adults aged 18-25 revealed that six out of 10 could not identify Colonel Harland Sanders – founder of the leading chicken chain KFC. In fact, 52 percent believe he was a made up corporate icon.

To commemorate 120 years since the birth of its founder, KFC is cooking up a year-long publicity campaign befitting of an A-list celebrity to reintroduce the life and legacy of Colonel Sanders – a legendary entrepreneur who, at the age of 65, turned a $105 Social Security check into a global chicken empire.

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“Colonel Sanders wasn’t Kris Kringle, Father Time or Uncle Sam,” said John R. Neal, longtime KFC franchisee. “He was a living, breathing, wildly successful entrepreneur who impacted our national cuisine. The Colonel was a marketing genius, even though he had only a sixth grade education.”

As part of the publicity blitz, KFC is launching a national search for a painter to create a piece of art to hang beside one of the most enduring pieces of Colonel memorabilia – a portrait painted by Norman Rockwell in 1973.

But there’s a catch: The portrait must be completed using special paint provided by KFC that is blended with the Colonel’s famed 11 herbs and spices, says KFC.

Now through September 30, 2010, artists can upload their sketches of the Colonel to www.kfc.com/portrait or send them via e-mail to kfc.publicrelations@kfc.com.

The winning artist will be selected based on the submitted sketch and will receive a commission to paint a new portrait of the Colonel.

The winner will also be awarded $1,100 ($100 for each of the herbs and spices in the Original Recipe) and the final portrait will hang alongside Norman Rockwell’s classic portrait of Colonel Sanders, currently on display in the lobby of KFC headquarters.

Colonel Sanders Survey Findings, according to KFC:

  • 61% of Americans 18-25 couldn’t identify the person in the famous KFC logo
  • 52% of Americans 18-25 believe Harland Sanders is/was a made up corporate icon
  • 31% of Americans 18-25 “have no idea” who Harland Sanders is/was

At the age of 65, the Colonel used his $105 Social Security check to start KFC, and until his death at the age of 90, traveled 250,000 miles a year visiting KFC restaurants worldwide.

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Rakesh Raman

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