KFC turns Colonel Sanders into virtual Instagram influencer

KFC's latest surreal advertising campaign transforms Colonel Harland David Sanders into a young, hipster virtual Instagram influencer.

Fast food chain KFC has upped their Instagram game by making its founder and mascot Colonel Harland David Sanders into a virtual influencer model.

The account which has 1.3 million followers identifies its owner as Colonel Harland Sanders, a virtual influencer who is chasing the dream, selling chicken and based out of Louisville, the headquarters of Kentucky Fried Chicken.

The model in the account appears to be an uncannily human 3D generated character, who sports the signature grey hair, black-rimmed glasses and white suit of the fried chicken magnate.

However instead of a pudgy old man – the real Colonel Sanders who died in 1980 – this version is a modelesque 20-something with a typical hipster haircut, complete with a torso tattoo that reads "Secret Recipe For Success".

"I may be a restaurant mogul and international inspiration, but I’m still just a kid who loves being in the kitchen. #humble It’s important never to lose sight of the things that make you who you are. For me, it’s being in the kitchen and making amazing fried chicken," he says in a post, mimicking the hashtag laden, inspirational captions used by social media influencers.

Adding to the embedded advertising style of influencers, the account doesn't directly advertise its fried chicken.

Instead the account has paid ads from brands like carbonated drink maker Dr Pepper and male grooming line Old Spice.

One of his posts features fellow virtual model @dagny.gram, a creation of The Digitals, a digital modeling agency. 

The agency notes that its virtual model Dagny "brushes shoulders with the new virtual ambassador for KFC", but did not say if the new Colonel Sanders is under its agency.

The Malaysian KFC Instagram account appears unaffected by this campaign.

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