Weiden and Kennedy

You’re Going to Fall in Love with Colonel Sanders Finger Licking Good Dating Simulator.

This afternoon while looking at a number of video sites for inspiration on a freelance project, I came across the video below. It led me down a deep rabbit hole, (or would that be a chicken hole?) of advertising and marketing material that has been produced for KFC by Weiden & Kennedy and Psyop.

The game, “I Love You, Colonel Sanders! A Finger Lickin’ Good Dating Simulator” was created by entertainment/advertising company Psyop for the fried-chicken brand taking the player through a three-day culinary school adventure. As the main character, your storyline involves earning your degree, supporting your best friend, and improving your culinary chops. But more than anything else, this is a dating simulator game, so the ultimate objective is to land the svelte Kentucky-fried colonel that is looking just as hipster as KFC’s CGI Instagram influencer version of the man.

The game was released on September 24th through Steam and is available to play for free. While this might seem like an odd marketing play by KFC it actually ties in with a number of other efforts they have produced in the past. Including a virtual reality nightmare of an employee training program and an 8-bit Atari-style game also starring the Colonel.


The graphics are really well done. The game is flush with lush backgrounds, which frankly would into any high production shoujo anime like Special A. The characters, too, are appropriately well-rendered, blinking and pouting in a dynamic enough way to suggest some two-dimensional humanity. Not only that, the food illustrations actually look appetizing as well.

The dialogue trends toward slightly juvenile and cheesy, but with enough self-awareness that many of the lines can definitely be read as ironic. Just look at the culinary school’s deliberate mouthful of a name: “University of Cooking School: Academy for Learning.” That reads like something auto-translated by Google from Japanese to English.

Like most Choose Your Own Adventure games, this is fairly standard click ‘n’ go. But Psyop was smart enough to add some mini-challenges to switch it up, including a timed quiz and a turn-based battle against something called a “spork monster.” It’s definitely not dynamic enough to hold a person’s attention for, an extended amount of gameplay, but more than sufficient for the one or two playthroughs that a normal person is going to undertake.

Psyop introduces a whole host of characters to help flesh out the world-building of this game. There is best friend Miriam, a spectacles-wearing Professor Dog (head of the cooking school of course), villainous Ashleigh and Van Van, small-statured boy, you have sentient kitchen appliance Clank, the forgettable Student (yes, that’s his actual name), and, of course, the hot hipster Colonel.

Of course, all of these characters pale in comparison to the star of the game: Colonel Harland Sanders. The Colonel is the brand spokesperson and they have gone to lengths to present him in ways to help extend the reach of the KFC brand with a younger target audience.

This is such a solid way to use gamification to promote KFC, introduce a new line of products like the Mac n Cheese Bowls. It also ties in with their social media efforts and TV spots which have been leaning to more humor since the Colonel was reintroduced in 2015. KFC is promoting the game in all of their social channels while cross-promoting othe campaigns like “Rudy III KFC Wings”. The overall strategy put together by W+K for KFC just works. It’s offbeat enough to get your attention. The humor is memorable and reflective of the quality copywriting that has gone into every touchpoint. And more importantly, it works which is evident in how well the brand has done over the last four years. By taking risks and leveraging the Colonel’s off-beat personality and drive to sell chicken give them permission to do things like the Colonel Sanders bearskin rug stunt or a hot tub that looks like a bucket of chicken.

There is an entire campaign built around the Rudy III theme on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube

W + K Sao Paulo’s New Identity System

Most people think of branding as a logo. And most people think of a logo as visual identity. A logo is one component of your visual identity system which makes up one part of your brand.  A great example of this is Weiden and Kennedy Sao Paulo new visual identity which is shown in the video below. They break down the inspiration for the logo design and then show how it is translated across a series of touch points as part of a larger identity system. No this doesn’t establish their branding. Branding is much larger than just a logo, visual identity system or editorial voice. Branding encompasses everything that establishes a relationship with a product, company, or service. The example in the video is one hell of an awesome logo and identity system though.

My Top Design Posts for 2010.

As 2010 winds down I got to thinking about all the great design work that I saw and posted about this year. One of my blog posts that generated some of the highest traffic  this year was “Some of the Best of Design For 2009“. Because of the popularity of that article, I have decided to post a best of for 2010 made up from design content that got the most traffic over the last 365 days. I have included everything from industrial design to motion graphics, and I have tried to limit it to less than 20 items.

Each item is shown below in no particular order. They are all within 3 or 4 total views of each other. Below each image or video is a link to the original article, so you can read the original posts if you want. I know that not writing a summary about each item is kind of a cop-out, but it’s been a long year and my fingers are tired of typing. So if you want to know more, you’ll have to click-through to the original.

1. House of Micha Lamps

Original Article

2. Phaidon Design Classics iPad Edition

Original Article

3. Norburn Model Aircraft Flying Business Card

Original Article

4. Argentina Bicentennial Graphics

Original Article

5. Move It Box Mover by David Warwick

Original Article

6. Landscape Forms Bench

Original Article

7. Panasonic Headphones Packaging

Original Article

8. Jeep Grand Cherokee TV Commercial, by

Weiden and Kenned


Original Article

9. Coens Plamp

Original Article

10. Element iPad stand

Original Article

11. David Riesenburg OO Projector

Original Article

12. Peter Dudas Hybrid Bike

Original Article

13. Revolutionair Turbine by Philippe Stark

Original Article

14. Team Ferrari Logo

Original Article

15. Jarod Gibson Movie Posters

Original Article

Design Friday. Wieden & Kennedy’s Grand Cherokee TV Spot.

Normally in the Design Friday post, I talk about an influential graphic designer and the work that they created. Today, I am going to go in a bit of a different direction and talk about the latest television advertisement for Jeep, that was produced by Wieden & Kennedy.

Whether you like the Jeep brand or not “Manifesto” is a brilliantly produced, and edited television spot. Heavy on patriotic editorial, and vintage stock footage of Americans at work, and the things we have produced, this ad is stirring.

The sixty-second spot opens with a rail spike being driven and cuts through 3 quick stock shots of trains with a voice over that sets the tone for the entire piece. “The things that make us Americans are the things we make.” A pretty powerful opening statement.

For the next thirty seconds the viewer is treated to a series of clips edited together, highlighting some of America’s greatest industrial triumphs of the 20th century. Iron works, The Empire State Building, The original Jeep, Baseball, the liberation of Europe, the airplane. All of this interspersed with sections of film showing hands on craft, and construction. A little over half way through the ad, we transition to the beauty shot of the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee slicing across an open stream in the american woodlands. As the ad wraps up, the viewer is treated to multiple shots of the gorgeous leather and wood interior which have been intercut with short clips of the manufacturing process. Where this ad truly shines is where the editorial emphasizes, and punctuates the visuals. The editing to the voice over is absolutely spot on.

So how does this relate to Design Friday? Because this TV spot like anything else was ultimately designed by a team of individuals, whose job is sway your feelings. And frankly they have done an excellent job of it. I am not a Jeep owner, nor am I much of a Jeep fan. I know to many people who have had horrific experiences with their products. This ad was a success because I remembered it, and have actually not skipped over it on the DVR. I stopped and watched it again, because of the script and because of the visuals.

The Editorial Overlay:

The things that make us Americans are the things we make.
This has always been a nation of builders – craftsmen.
Men and Women for whom straight stitches and clean welds were matters of personal pride.
They made the sky scrapers and the cotton gins,
Colt revolvers, Jeep 4 by 4’s.
These things make us who we are.
As a people we do well when we make good things, and not so well when we don’t.
The good news is this can be put right. We just have to do it.
So we did.

This our newest son was imagined, drawn, carved, stamped, hewn and forged here; in America.
It is well made and it is designed to work.
This was once a country where people made things.
Beautiful things.
And so it is again.

The new Jeep Grand Cherokee.

The things we make, make us.

There are two very important components to the messaging here. First Chrysler/Jeep hints that they made an inferior product at on point. “As a people we do well when we make good things, and not so well when we don’t.
The good news is this can be put right. We just have to do it.”

The second is where they tell you point-blank, “So we did.”

This small section of the ad sets up the entire final sequence which ties directly back to the main copy. The final ten seconds of the ad are a direct comparison of the craftsman ship between the 2011 Jeep, and how we reminisce about the quality of American products that helped shape our country.

Like Jeep or not, there is no denying that this advertisement is absolutely brilliant. Click the image below to see the spot.