The chicken craze has gotten, well, crazy.
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The latest celebrities to “batter up” on behalf of deep-fried poultry are hip-hoppers Migos creating the “Migos Menu” for Popeyes – and available exclusively via Uber Eats. The trio of Offset, Quavo and Takeoff are squaring off with a long line of celebrities who have portrayed KFC icon Colonel Sanders. The likes of George Hamilton and Sean Astin have played the finger-lickin' colonel.
“Seinfeld” co-star Jason Alexander is currently wearing the white suit, and he’s pitching in ads will the company’s $20 Fill Ups, which include chicken, biscuits and sides. The company also offers a small $10 shareable meal for smaller families.
That deal will go head to head with the Migos menu which consists of:
- Tour Rider, price starting at $46.99: 20 tenders, seven sauces, one large mashed potatoes with gravy, two large fries, five biscuits, one gallon of lemonade
- The Offset, $21.99: eight pieces BIC (bone-in-chicken) chicken meal, one large fries, one large mashed potato with gravy, and four biscuits
- The Quavo, price starting at $17.99: two chicken sandwiches, two regular fries, one regular mashed potatoes with gravy, two apple pies, two small drinks
- The Takeoff, $9.99: five tenders, two sauces, one regular mashed potatoes, two biscuits, one apple pie.
The Uber delivery adds a new twist to the chicken wars, and despite the long list of celebrities who have twirled Colonel Sanders’ mustache In the U.S., which makes up about 17 percent of KFC’s revenue, same-store sales declined by 1 percent in parent company Yum Brand's most recent earnings release.
But celebrities hired to push fast-food favorites is a tried a true tradition. Over the years consumers have seen:
“Saturday Night Live” alum Kristen Wiig don the role of the “Everyman” in a 2017 campaign for Pizza Hut. But she was not Yum Brands’ biggest “get” for its popular pies. In 1995 it landed a Beatle – Ringo Starr – to sing about the Hut’s crust-stuffed pizza. Yum paired Ringo with the Beatles' American clone, The Monkees. Of note, according to English newspaper The Telegraph: “Starr has never eaten a slice of pizza in real life due to severe allergies to onions, garlic, and spices, and can be glimpsed at the very end of his Pizza Hut advert trying very hard not to actually insert a slice into his mouth.”
Burger chains have had ordered up several celebrities over the years. In 2012, model Kate Upton famously pushed the boundaries of PG-13 advertising with a sultry Carl’s Jr. spot. Carl’s Jr sister company Hardee’s saw a 104 percent increase in traffic after the commercial aired.
Paris Hilton has also taken the bite of a burger for Carl’s Jr. in 2005 and again in 2014. Carl's Jr. is part of the privately held restaurant company CKE.
In 2004, McDonald’s hired the Olsen twins, fresh off their stardom from the smash sitcom “Full House,” to promote its Happy Meals – but only in France. The move was made because the chain had seen a drop in sales in Europe that year. The move sort of backfired after it was revealed right before the campaign began that Mary-Kate Olsen was being treated for an eating disorder.
In 2013, actress Salma Hayek played a Burger King employee who eagerly asks to role play different customers in a training session for the chain. She headlined a star-studded list of those who served in the court of the king that year to help introduce new menu items from wraps to smoothies. Talk show host Jay Leno, soccer star David Beckham, songstress Mary J Blige, rocker Steven Tyler and “Modern Family” star Sofia Vergara were also part of the campaign.
Then there are the boldfaced names that do more than lend their faces to fast food. Country music star Kenny Rogers and Roy Rogers, the one-time king of the Western, both lent their names to the neon signs outside fast-food franchises. Kenny Rogers’ was all about chicken, and Roy Rogers' stock in trade was roast beef.
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The chicken chain cooked up 424 stores across the country at its height. One of Rogers’ partners in “roasted” chicken was former Kentucky governor John Y Brown – the man behind the growth of KFC. The chain declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March of 1998 and was purchased by hot dog king Nathan’s Famous. The chain was very successful in Asia.
At its peak, Roy Rogers had more than 600 locations. It was sold several times with owners including Marriott. Plamondon Enterprises now owns the brand, which has about 50 locations in the US.