Thursday, March 8, was International Women's Day, and surely there are many people all around the world who decided to celebrate with a big ole' bucket of Colonel Sanders' Kentucky Fried Chicken. Fans of the famous eleven herbs and spices may have been greeted with a small surprise upon their arrival to a restaurant, however. In honor of the holiday, KFC decided to introduce a companion for the Colonel: Claudia Sanders, his wife.
You've got to love a couple that dresses similarly.
Meet Claudia Sanders 👋 To mark #IWD2018 @kfc is introducing the world to Colonel Sanders’ wife 👇… https://t.co/iN02Mjd3Jb— Marketing Week (@Marketing Week) 1520521703.0
KFC Malaysia posted this statement on their website:
It is hard to imagine but KFC would not be where it is today if not for Claudia, wife of Colonel Sanders. While the Colonel created the secret recipe and ran the company, Mrs Sanders mixed and even shipped the spices to restaurants across the country - often late into the night.
This International Women's Day, we pay tribute to Claudia Sanders for her role in the making of Malaysia's favourite fried chicken. And to every woman whose ideas, hard work and passion contribute to making the world a better place. Thank you.
KFC's announcement was not given the positive reception they hoped for. In fact, most people weren't too happy about Claudia's introduction.
@MarketingWeekEd @kfc this. is. ridiculous.— bambam (@bambam) 1520522022.0
You know your announcement has backfired when Twitter shifts into sarcasm mode...
@MarketingWeekEd @kfc Sexism has finally been vanquished— Total Effin Godhead (@Total Effin Godhead) 1520526915.0
@MarketingWeekEd @kfc How inspiring 🙄👎— Girl with a Perl Earring (@Girl with a Perl Earring) 1520531565.0
Many people on social media appeared to believe Claudia was a conveniently invented PR-tool, but she was actually a real person!
In 1930, a full 22 years before the "birth" of a franchised Kentucky Fried Chicken, Sanders ran a small cafe in North Corbin, Kentucky. It was there he met Claudia Price, who worked as a waitress in the restaurant. Though Sanders was already married, the pair became lovers and the affair would continue until the Colonel divorced his wife and was finally able to marry Claudia in 1948.
Meanwhile, in 1939, Sanders finalized his "secret recipe" for fried chicken. In 1952, he turned that recipe into a franchise that began spreading like wildfire across the nation. He didn't do it alone, however! He has lots of help from Claudia, especially on the business end of things. While the Colonel may have been quite the salesman, he was no one-man operation.
According to the New Straits Times:
It was Claudia's duty to mix, package, and ship out the secret blend of herbs and spices to the respective outlets.
Remember: shipping food stuffs to many restaurants, some of them out of state, wasn't so easy in the 50's as it is now. And it's not all that easy now.
In 1991, Claudia herself said:
While (The Colonel) was out selling, I was home doing the work.
Claudia also played the part of hostess, appearing with the Colonel all across the country. David Novak, the former president and chief executive of KFC, once commented:
We could not have been the company we are now without Claudia's contributions.
@juliareinstein @yashar This is weirder than I first thought...because "Colonel Sanders" was a real person who foun… https://t.co/PRcW7Cbldh— Rachel Joy Larris (@Rachel Joy Larris) 1520527073.0
So KFC's roll-out of Claudia Sanders may not have gone as planned, but perhaps it's just because they didn't tell people enough about the real woman who inspired the drawing! After all:
SHE HAS AN IDENTITY OUTSIDE OF HER MARRIAGE. SHE HAS HER OWN HOPES AND DREAMS https://t.co/Kn2i9bsPGk— Amelia Tait (@Amelia Tait) 1520527500.0