KFC Cooked Up a Steamy Lifetime Movie With Mario Lopez as Colonel Sanders

W+K's latest media gag for the chicken chain

Wieden + Kennedy Portland is fond of putting Colonel Sanders in unexpected places—whether that's a California high school yearbook or a DJ booth at a major music festival. Now, long-dead Harland is getting star billing in another notorious media vehicle: the Lifetime movie.

A Recipe for Seduction, starring Mario Lopez as the Colonel, is an intentionally overheated 15-minute tale of "mystery, suspense, deception, 'fowl' play and—at the heart of it all—love and fried chicken," the brand says in a statement. It will premiere Lifetime on Sunday, Dec. 13 at noon ET/PT, and thereafter will be available throughout the holiday season on mylifetime.com/christmas-movies, all Lifetime apps, and VOD platforms.

Here's the trailer, which raises at least as many questions as it answers:

Lifetime | A Recipe for Seduction, Presented by Kentucky Fried Chicken

"We're no stranger to heating things up for the holidays, just like our famous fried chicken scented Firelog. But let's face it, we could all use a little distraction this holiday season, so why not fill some of your time at home with a suspenseful drama and the comfort of our world-famous fried chicken?" says Andrea Zahumensky, KFC's U.S. CMO. "'A Recipe for Seduction' is a perfect excuse to curl up at home and escape to your own happily ever after."

"Lifetime is the perfect holiday home to bring this spicy, unexpected tale to life," said David DeSocio, evp of ad sales marketing and partnerships at A+E Networks. "Through a terrific cast, and with a wink to the unique sensibilities celebrated in Lifetime movies, this co-production spotlights each brand's POV and marries them in a fun and authentic way. A+E Networks delivers custom creative that our audiences and clients love."

It feels a lot like Taco Bell's spoof movie trailers, if those were actually fleshed out into a proper 15-minute narrative.

The project also falls in line with W+K's occasional efforts to give Colonel Sanders more of a faux-sexy vibe. Among other things, W+K in 2017 created a romance novel called Tender Wings of Desire, telling the tale of one Lady Madeline Parker, who ditches her marriage, leaves home and is "swept into the arms of Harland, a handsome sailor with a mysterious past." The novel merits 2.8 stars out of 5 at GoodReads, averaging the scores of 623 sometimes baffled readers.

This holiday, KFC is also selling an 11 Herbs & Spices Firelog and vintage-inspired holiday buckets, and is offering an Uber Eats special promotion—six free extra crispy tenders with an order of $20 or more for delivery—from Dec. 13-19.


Agency: Wieden + Kennedy Portland
Executive Creative Director: Eric Baldwin
Creative Directors: Jarrod Higgins, Lawrence Melilli
Copywriter/Art Director: Christa Prater, Maggie Paris
Head of Production: Matt Hunnicut
Executive Producer: Hayley Goggin
Producers: Danielle Magee, Alex Lianopoulos, Camille Westerberg
Account Team Members: Jesse Johnson, Kimmy Cunningham, Mandy Wakimoto, Megan Russell, Allie Bottinelli, Komal Charania
Creative Operations Manager: Jane Monaghan
Media Team: Samantha Horvath, Kristen Mcnamee, Annamaria Grinis
Brand Strategy: Britton Taylor, Jake Watt
Digital Strategy Director: John Dempsey
Business Affairs: Emily Kahn
Executive Design Producer: Alicia Kuna
Design Producer: Victoria Tengblad-Kreft
Design Director: Patrick Nistler
Designers: David Trujillo, Dave Hagen, Seth Shelman, Corey Bade
Photographer: Saskia Thomson
Motion Designer: Adam Sirkin
Retoucher: Kyle Pero
Copy Editing: Erica Nikolaidis
Production Company: Jean
Director: Jean

Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd was editor in chief of the Clio Awards and editor of Muse by Clio from 2018 to 2023.

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