KFC Gets Weirder, Taps Vincent Kartheiser of “Mad Men” As Its “Nashville Hot” Colonel

KFC introduces hipster chicken for the masses.

WHAT: The latest ad in KFC’s ongoing push to reimagine its deceased founder, Colonel Sanders, as a rotating icon represented by various famous faces.


WHO: Vincent Kartheiser–Mad Men‘s Pete Campbell, but he’ll always be Angel‘s creepy adult son Connor to us–is the “dashing, rebellious Colonel” this time out in a campaign from Weiden + Kennedy.

WHY WE CARE: KFC’s commitment to the Colonel has been captivating (even as it’s ruffled some feathers from at least one actor tapped to play the part), but we’ve only scratched the surface of how weird they’re getting with it. Darrell Hammond led to Norm Macdonald, who led to Jim Gaffigan–all of them pleasant, middle-aged white comedians–but the campaign now also includes George Hamilton as leathery, taxidermied, “extra crispy” Colonel Sanders, and Rob Riggle, as a martial, domineering, football-minded Colonel for NFL games. Kartheiser’s dreamy Colonel is just the latest evolution of the campaign, recasting the Mad Men star as a version of Colonel Sanders who’s a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll, bringing Nashville Hot Chicken to starry-eyed teens in the parochial South of the 1950s–all words that it’s absurd to hear in relation to KFC, but “absurd” is increasingly the name of the game with this campaign.

About the author

Dan Solomon lives in Austin with his wife and his dog. He's written about music for MTV and Spin, sports for Sports Illustrated, and pop culture for Vulture and the AV Club.