KFC taps World’s Strongest Man to promote new sandwich

By  – Reporter, Louisville Business First

KFC has tapped an oversized “Double Colonel” to sell its new oversized sandwich.

“Game of Thrones” fans will recognize the new colonel, Hafthor Julius Bjornsson, as Gregor Clegane, or The Mountain, on the HBO series. And the chicken chain has enlisted him to be its first “Double Colonel,” a colossal take on the character of KFC founder Col. Harland Sanders often played by famous people.

Bjornsson, who is 6 foot, 9 inches tall and nearly 400 pounds, is not only The Mountain from GoT, though. He earned the title of the “World’s Strongest Man” after winning the long-running World’s Strongest Man competition in May in the Philippines.

Bjornsson was brought on by the chicken chain to hawk its Double Crispy Colonel Sandwiches, which KFC says are “bigger than the rest and built to take on the hungriest and strongest of appetites.”

He will appear only in online promotions.

In the Strongest Man competition, Bjornsson was seen deadlifting cars, the pulling semi-trucks and hauling anchors, anvils and other heavy objects, but KFC asked him to complete a different kind of challenge.

In a promotion posted Monday on KFC’s Facebook page, Bjornsson set a world record for sandwich pulling — yes, sandwich pulling — by pulling a sled full of the sandwiches in what KFC dubbed the inaugural Double Crispy Challenge. He pulled “the most chicken sandwiches ever recorded in an arm-over-arm pull,” according to a news release.

After a lot of grunting and encouragement from a crowd, Bjornsson, dressed as the KFC Colonel, pulled the 700-pound sled full of sandwiches across a stage.

Watch Bjornsson take on the Double Crispy Challenge here.

“I’m not afraid of a challenge, so I couldn’t say no when KFC asked me if I wanted to attempt to pull a massive amount of Double Crispy Colonel sandwiches instead of a semi-truck like I normally do,” Björnsson said in a news release. “This feat isn’t for the weak and neither is this sandwich.”

The new sandwich is a play on the Crispy Colonel Sandwich but with double the chicken. The Double Crispy Colonel is two extra crispy fillets topped with mayo and pickles, served on a bun. It also is available in its three signature flavors, Smokey Mountain BBQ, Nashville Hot and Georgia Gold. It is available à la carte or in a combo meal.

The company is no stranger to enlisting stars to sell the product. Earlier this month, Seinfeld star Jason Alexander portrayed Col. Sanders to help sell its $20 Fill Up meal. And the KFC Colonel character has been played by many big names across entertainment, including comedian Jim Gaffigan, “Saturday Night Live” star Rob Riggle, “Mad Men” actor Vincent Kartheiser and country music star Reba McEntire, who played the first female colonel earlier this year.

KFC is headquartered in Louisville and has more than 21,000 restaurants in 130 countries. The company is part of Yum Brands Inc. (NYSE: YUM), which has its U.S. headquarters in Louisville and also owns Pizza Hut and Taco Bell.