If you love fast food, chances are that you have definitely heard about Kentucky Fried Chicken, or KFC for short. The restaurant chain, well known for its crispy fried chicken combined with southern-style slides, has been among the most predominant fast food restaurants ever since it was founded in 1952 by Colonel Harland Sanders. What began as a small roadside stand in Kentucky grew into a global phenomenon, with over 23,000 KFC locations in more than 140 countries today.
Over the years, KFC has become one of the biggest and most recognizable brands throughout the world, and a lot of this recognition can be attributed to its famous founder, who had a distinct look to him thanks to his white coat and a string tie. However, his fame didn’t exactly take off until the 1970s when Colonel Sanders actually became a pop-culture icon thanks to his now-famous TV commercial featuring him saying a line that made him immortal. The line was, “I’m too drunk to taste this chicken.”
The history behind “I’m too drunk to taste this chicken.”
Surprisingly, Colonel Sanders didn’t start his career in the fast food industry until he was already 40. Colonel Sanders is a textbook example of a self-made man, he spent years perfecting the right blend of 11 herbs and spices, and his unique cooking techniques helped him build a loyal following of fans who couldn’t get enough of his delicious fried chicken.
The commercial aired sometime in the mid-1970s, featuring Colonel Sanders, where he sat at a table with a plate of KFC’s signature fried chicken placed in front of him. In the commercial, Colonel Sanders took a bite of the chicken, then paused for a moment, and then exclaimed: “I’m too drunk to taste this chicken!” The line took the world by storm, so much so that it quickly became one of the most recognizable catchphrases in advertising history.
But how exactly did Colonel Sanders come up with this line, and what was the history behind this iconic catchphrase?
Apparently, the backstory is that the commercial was filmed after a long day of shooting, and Colonel Sanders was reported drinking heavily throughout that day, and when the moment of him tasting the chicken arrived, he basically improvised the line “I’m too drunk to taste this chicken,” surprising the filming crew.
Despite the fact that the line was not part of the original script, the ad became an instant hit. That line was funny, memorable, and very relatable, but most importantly, it captured that laid-back Southern charm that Colonel Sanders was known for.
A turning point for KFC
The commercial also proved to be a pivoting point for KFC, which at that point, was struggling in the fast food industry. The “Drunk Chicken” Ad was a massive hit, and after that, KFC’s sales skyrocketed, making the restaurant among the most popular fast food chains throughout the world. Prior to this Ad, the restaurant was facing a lot of resistance in the competitive landscape of the fast food market, and at the time, a lot of people believed that KFC was a less healthy option as compared to other big names in the market at that time.
However, the success of the ad paved the way for KFC to change that perception. By rebranding itself as a more high-end and quality-focused restaurant, KFC was able to attract a new generation of loyal customers who were willing to pay more for a premium dining experience. After the “Drunk Chicken” Ad, the restaurant chain began heavily investing in advertising and marketing, using catchy slogans, phrases, and memorable characters to create more brand awareness throughout the world.
Over time, KFC continued its innovation and evolution by introducing new menu items like the Famous Bowl and the Double Down sandwich. The chain also expanded its worldwide presence by opening new locations in countries like China, India, and Japan.
On the flip side, the Ad was also publicly criticized as, according to some people, the Ad promoted “Drinking and Driving,” some people even called for a boycott of KFC altogether. However, despite the controversy surrounding it, the Ad never lost its popularity, and since then, it has become a beloved part of advertising history.
The line that became immortal
The phrase “I’m too drunk to taste this chicken” is still widely recognized today and is referenced many times in popular culture, as countless TV shows, movies, and even other advertisements have parodied this phrase one way or the other. The phrase has even become a shorthand for anything that is excessive or overindulgent. Even those who have never seen the commercial itself are likely familiar with the phrase “I’m too drunk to taste this chicken,” which has taken on a life of its own in popular culture.
However, perhaps the most long-lasting legacy of the “Drunk Chicken” Ad is the impact it had on Colonel Sanders and KFC itself. In the coming years after the Ad, the KFC restaurant chain continued its exponential growth and expanded to become one of the most successful fast food chain restaurants throughout the world. Even though Colonel Sanders passed away in 1980, his legacy still lives on in both the company he founded and the countless people throughout the world who still remember him fondly.
To summarize, the “Drunk Chicken” Ad is a testament to how powerful the phrase “I’m too drunk to taste this chicken” became when it was combined with the southern appeal of Colonel Sanders. The Ad also shows that a good advertisement can literally take a company that is struggling to find its foot in the market and make it a global success.
The “Drunk Chicken” Ad shows that advertisements that resonate with people have the power to move the masses. Whether you love it or hate it, there’s no denying the impact that the commercial had on the fast food industry and popular culture as a whole. So the next time you bite into a piece of KFC’s crispy fried chicken, take a moment to remember the man who was too drunk to taste his chicken. And while Colonel Sanders may be gone, his legacy lives on through the brand he created and the enduring catchphrases he helped to popularize.
I am a passionate beer connoisseur with a deep appreciation for the art and science of brewing. With years of experience tasting and evaluating various beers, I love to share my opinions and insights with others and I am always eager to engage in lively discussions about my favorite beverage.