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KFC puts the Colonel’s voice on Google's Waze

KFC has struck a deal with Google’s Waze in-car directions service to have the turn-by-turn audible instructions provided by a Colonel Harland Sanders sound-alike who’ll mix in homey references to the chain and its menu.

As part of the deal, the Colonel will call attention to KFC units along the Waze user’s route. Waze, a crowd-sourced service, already flags some roadside restaurants with static icons.

The promotion has a decidedly tongue-in-cheek aspect. "In our ads, the Colonel still thinks it costs $5 to fill up your car and that baseball is still America's number one sport, 'free of corruption and cheating of any kind,'" said Kevin Hochman, CMO of KFC’s domestic operation. "But I can promise you his navigation instructions are more up to date.”

His “Colonelisms” are not, the chain noted. It cites the example of what the voice-over might say if Waze warns drivers of a road hazard. “Pothole ahead. I’d fill it with gravy,” the Colonel could quip.

KFC recently brought back the late Colonel to serve as its spokesman and icon once again. The character is played on TV commercials by Saturday Night Live alumnus Darrell Hammond.

The real Colonel Sanders started KFC when he franchised the concept in the early 1950s. He’d been selling fried chicken, cooked in a pressure cooker rather than a deep fryer, since the Great Depression, when he added it as a draw for the gas station he was managing.

The resurrection of the Colonel, who died in 1980, coincided with the return of the King to Burger King’s commercials and McDonald’s update of its Hamburglar mascot.

Like Google Maps, Waze helps drivers get from Point A to Point B. But it also provides information from users on traffic, stalled cars and policemen in the area. It is used through an app.

Click here to hear the Colonel.

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