KFC chose Reba McEntire to be the first woman to play the iconic role of Colonel Sanders in their ad campaign running from January to April of 2018.
Although KFC insists this was a political move, and the spokesperson for KFC claims that they “have always maintained that anyone, male or female, who embodies the spirit of the colonel is qualified to play [the colonel].”
There has been a mixed reaction from people of all demographics to the decision to cast Reba in the campaign.
From proud feminists:
Finally, women have broken the fried ceiling. Congratulations @reba
— Mary "Pass the Dressing" Williams-Barber (@therealMaryKat) January 26, 2018
To women calling for different types of gender equality:
I'm terrified for the rest of 2018 because women really want better healthcare and equal pay but so far we've just gotten Reba in KFC commercials and lady Doritos
— ali evans (@helloalievans) February 6, 2018
To men calling for the return of traditional gender roles:
To people who don’t think this was a feminist victory after all:
It appears the new KFC commercial is themed around the idea Reba needs to pretend to be a man in order to sell her new smokey hot wings and sings: 'I am not a woman…'
So definitely a win for feminism.
— Chad Felix Greene (@chadfelixg) January 31, 2018
No matter what your opinion was on the casting choice, KFC got more people tweeting about them than ever before.
After Reba’s contract ended, they tapped a previous actor, George Hamilton, to reprise his role as the Colonel for the “Extra Crispy” campaign. According to Hamilton, he has “no clue” why KFC wants him back and that “They’ll probably call [Reba] tomorrow and tell her ‘we’ve had enough of George, we want Reba back.”
The message for your brand? Don’t be afraid to take risks.