Sean Astin Will Play "Colonel Rudy" in New NFL Ad Campaign

KFC is kicking off the NFL season in style, bringing Sean Astin back to the role of Rudy -- but with a twist. In its recent tradition of attention-grabbing recastings of their iconic mascot/spokesperson Colonel Sanders, KFC is calling Colonel Rudy off the bench for a new series of ads timed to the launch of football season. You can see the first such ad above. The absurdity of the concept is something KFC is leaning hard into, with a movie poster proclaiming "Rudy II: He's Colonel Sanders now." Astin, a Hollywood veteran known for his roles in The Goonies and Lord of the Rings, recently trended on Twitter when a user referred to him as "Sean Astin from Stranger Things" in a popular tweet, leading to an avalanche of tweets calling out other parts of his resume that could have been used instead.

According to a statement from the company, "Both Colonel Sanders and Rudy Ruettiger have similar stories of fulfilling their dreams by doing things the hard way and never giving up. In KFC’s new campaign, Rudy II, fans will see Rudy on a quest to fulfill a new dream – to become the Colonel Sanders. The spot recreates several of the iconic scenes from the original Rudy film like the famous locker room speech and when Rudy is lifted up and carried off the field as a hero, but in a unique way that only KFC could do."

“Football, Kentucky Fried Chicken and the iconic sports film Rudy – three American classics
that were made for each other,” said Andrea Zahumensky, KFC U.S. chief marketing officer.
“This is why we’ve enlisted Colonel Rudy to remind fans across America that there’s no better
way to watch your favorite team than with a bucket of the Colonel’s famous fried chicken.”

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In addition to tying into the start of Thursday Night Football last night, KFC's Colonel Rudy is rolling out as part of a new deal at their restaurants: beginning September 9, for a limited time, fans can get a free chocolate cake when purchasing a 10-piece meal at participating KFC restaurants.

KFC is no stranger to such zany, attention-grabbing promotions. Besides the recasting of Sanders, first with notable comedians and eventually with country music icon Reba McEntire, the company co-produced a trilogy of Colonel Sanders-themed comics with DC, which featured versions of Colonel Sanders from throughout the DC multiverse teaming up with superheroes to save the world from villains who were trying to get their hands on the Colonel's 11 secret herbs and spices.