Saturday, February 25, 2012

Colonel Sanders

Does anyone else find it incongruous that a Colonel from the southern USA, sounding like Foghorn Leghorn, is the sponsor of Australian cricket?  It’s a bit like Vegemite sponsoring American baseball.  .

For those younfer readers not aware, the Colonel was a real person – Colonel Harland Sanders (1890-1980) (below)  – not just a made up corporate logo or icon.  I recall seeing him interviewed on the Don Lane Show on his visit to Sydney in 1976.

 Harland Sanders began his fried chicken business in 1952 using a $105 social security cheque.  The Colonel title is an honorary title conferred upon him by the Governor of Kentucky in 1935 and confirmed in 1950 by a later Governor, from which date he grew his distinctive moustache and goatee and donned his trademark white suit and string tie.  He never wore anything else in public from that date.

See the Colonel in person on “What’s My Line”, before he was famous, at:

In 1991 Kentucky Fried Chicken changed its name to KFC and updated its packaging and logo to a more modern look.  The PR people said this was for health reasons but, according to, the real reason is that the debt ridden state of Kentucky licensed its own name in 1990 and began charging for the use of it.  A year of negotiations failed to achieve a resolution so that after 40 years of use, the name was changed by dropping Kentucky.  For the same reason the Kentucky Derby became The Run of the Roses and Neil Young’s Kentucky Woman was dropped from playlists in that the licensing fee exceeded the royalties.

KFC reverted to the name Kentucky Fried Chicken in 2007 after reaching an undisclosed settlement with the State of Kentucky in November 2006.


In late 2010 in response to falling sales. Kentucky Fried Chicken announced that it was bringing back the Colonel into its marketing in campaigns that would be aimed at young people.

Another interesting KFC item:

In 2006 KFC claimed to have constructed the world’s first advertisement visible from space.  It was located in the Mojave Desert in Nevada, used 65,000 red, white and black tiles and took six days to construct.

 The honour of being the first “astroadvertisemnt” is generally acknowledged, however, to belong to Australia.  In 1965 a 3.2 kilometres by 1.6 kilometres Readymix sign was etched into the Nullabor desert and is still clearly visible. The sight used to be a familiar one along what was the trans-continental flight route during the 1960s and '70s.  Each side of the diamond measures 1.8 kilometres. The letters that spell out "READYMIX" are 240 metres high by 180 metres wide, with each stroke estimated to be about 12 metres wide.

Alby Kalajzich holds up a photo of the Readymix logo that hangs in the company's Perth offices. 

As a different issue does anyone think that the Colonel looks like Leon Trotsky:

 or Rolf Harris…

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