KFC’s latest viral marketing stunt has raised a number of eyebrows with its 15-minute Lifetime romantic movie starring Mario Lopez as Colonel Sanders himself. The film is a shameless move by KFC to cash in on the popularity of the romantic Lifetime movie craze, taking the concept of product placement to a whole new level. Fans are both amused and baffled, but this isn’t the first time the Colonel has tried to worm his way into the public’s stomachs as well as their hearts.
KFC’s earliest stunt of this kind was the release of a romance novel, starring the Colonel himself, which like many of its special menu items was only available for a limited time. ‘Tender Wings of Desire: A Colonel Sanders Novella’ both made fun of the tropes of the romance novel while being packed full of mentions for various KFC menu items. The book even received its own trailer, released in time for Mother’s Day — as if the whole thing wasn’t bizarre enough.
The free downloadable romance novel turned out to be such a hit that KFC immediately began looking at other niche areas it could exploit for more free advertising, which is when it came across the untapped visual novel market. Visual novels are a sort of choose-your-own-adventure games, which often feature a number of bizarre and unique premises, most of them centered around dating simulations. KFC decided to release their own visual novel titled ‘I Love You, Colonel Sanders! A Finger Lickin’ Good Dating Simulator’.
The plot of the novel puts the player in the shoes of a culinary student at a school taught by a Professor Corgi (an actual Corgi, known as ‘Sprinkles’ when he’s not teaching), where one of your rival students is a sleek, anime-inspired Colonel Sanders. Players move through the novel, playing multiple mini-games filled with KFC references and quizzes about the restaurant franchise, all in the hopes of romancing Colonel Sanders and impressing him with your cooking knowledge enough to also become his business partner. The game has multiple endings, offering several hours of gameplay — still relatively short, by most visual novel standards.
While it’s an obvious gag, it was one that was very well received by gamers. While hardcore visual novel fans were upset that the game made fun of the medium, most people were so amused that the game continues to hold a “Very Positive” rating on Steam, where you can still download the game for free now. The game boasts that it has “A degree from a fictional culinary school, 11 Herbs and Spices, cute miniature food,” and, most significantly, “Officially created by KFC. No, really.”
KFC’s ‘A Recipe For Seduction’ releases on December 13, on Lifetime.