The chicken chain’s wacky new marketing campaign is following the trend of foodservice brands appealing to the booming gaming industry.
Have you ever wanted to date Colonel Sanders? Well, you are in luck. The QSR chain KFC recently announced the release of a new video game, "I Love You, Colonel Sanders! A Finger Lickin' Good Dating Simulator," in which players will be able to hit it off with a “young and hip” Colonel Sanders.
The game, set to be released on September 24, was announced on KFC’s Twitter. “The rumors are true, we are making a game where you can date Colonel Sanders. Give us a few weeks... we’re still coding some chicken,” they tweeted.
Since being announced, images of the game have been teased on KFC’s Gaming Twitter. That’s right, KFC has an entire Twitter account dedicated to gaming. If that wasn’t enough of an indication that QSR and fast casual brands are eager to get a piece of the $152 billion global gaming market, other major food service chains such as Taco Bell and Burger have all developed branded video games in the past.
Earlier this year, Chipotle turned to esports as a way to continue developing its online presence. Tapping into the powerful esports industry, the brand struck a deal with esports entities ESL and DreamHack to become the official partner of several events in 2019, including an amateur tournament dubbed the Chipotle Challenger Series. The brand also sponsored several player lounges at events in Dallas, Atlanta and Chicago, where participants could enjoy Chipotle food while competing.
KFC’s video game falls in line with the brand’s new tendency for boundary-pushing and ironic marketing campaigns. In April, KFC hilariously poked fun at influencers with a computer-generated, hipster Colonel Sanders posting photos of his “fabulous lifestyle” on the brand’s official Instagram.
The gaming market is only going to grow as marketers pile on sponsorships of video game teams and events. While marketing campaigns get weirder and weirder, brands like KFC who are willing to get creative are going to stand out—with one user responding to the video game announcement on Twitter with, “This is completely insane and has made my day,” and another tweeting, “This is what the world needs.