KFC in Malaysia is celebrating International Women’s Day by swapping out Colonel Sanders for his wife Claudia as the face of the company.
The fast-food chain debuted the change with a YouTube video explaining Claudia’s role in the company. “Mrs. Sanders played a very important role in the success of KFC. While the Colonel was busy promoting his chicken and running the company, she took orders in the restaurant, mixed the secret blend of herbs and spices, and as you know, in those days there were no courier services, so she had to take the orders to the train station for shipping,” Merrill Pereyra, CEO of QSR Brands, which owns KFC Malaysia, says in the video.
Claudia was the Colonel’s second wife and met him when she worked as a waitress in his first restaurant, Sanders Café, Business Insider reports.
She soon began helping him run what would become a successful international fast food chain. ''While he was out selling, I was home doing the work,'' Claudia recounted in an interview, the Associated Press reports.
Others have recognized Claudia’s contribution to KFC, as is noted in her 1997 obituary by AP. ''We could not have been the company we are now without Claudia's contributions,'' said David Novak, KFC's president and chief executive.
While some people recognized the company’s efforts to honor Claudia, others felt as though swapping out the logo for a day doesn’t go far enough in championing women’s rights.
But Pereyra said in an interview with Marketing magazine that the company wants to recognize the hard work women do. “To all women of KFC and the world out there, we would like to say that your future is always bright, equal, safe and rewarding. Keep inspiring us and impacting lives, and thank you for all your hard work and contribution to our community, family and this organization,” he said.
This isn’t the first time KFC has featured a female Sanders. In January, the chicken chain announced Reba McEntire as the first female Colonel Sanders to play the restaurant’s mascot.
Another fast food chain made a marketing change to recognize International Women’s Day. McDonald’s flipped its golden arches upside down to make the ‘M’ appear as a ‘W’ for ‘women.’