- KFC Canada is letting customers chat with founder and former spokesperson Colonel Harland Sanders as the first company to use new voice technology from Amazon. The fast-food chain worked with Amazon Web Services (AWS), the e-commerce giant's cloud computing platform, to recreate Sanders' voice with Amazon Polly, according to an announcement shared with Mobile Marketer.
- Amazon Polly is an artificial intelligence (AI) tool that turns text into lifelike speech, enabling Amazon's Alexa virtual assistant to sound like other voices. KFC Canada's customers can find the KFC skill, as voice-powered apps for Alexa are called, in the Alexa skills store or mobile app.
- After enabling the skill, customers can chat with Colonel Sanders about topics that KFC Canada first introduced two years ago in its "Chicken Talk" skill, including chicken jokes, random chicken thoughts, a Colonel Quiz trivia game and "poultry pickup lines," per the announcement. KFC Canada also added a reordering feature to the skill.
KFC Canada has been one of the earliest adopters of Amazon's voice platform since the e-commerce giant started selling Alexa-powered Echo devices in the country more than two years ago. Recreating the voice of founder Colonel Sanders, who died in 1980, on Alexa may be a little creepy for some people. However, the fast-food chain has successfully resurrected the Sanders persona in a series of campaigns showing celebrity impersonators of KFC's late founder, introducing the iconic spokesperson to a new generation of customers looking for more brand substance to their fast-food fix.
For Amazon, the latest KFC Canada skill showcases the branding potential for its Amazon Polly technology that replaces Alexa's standard voice with that of a celebrity, spokesperson or other character. Amazon extended Polly to incorporate a Southern accent and speech patterns consistent with those of Colonel Sanders, Matt Wood, AWS' VP of artificial intelligence, said in a statement. It's likely that other marketers will similarly add personalized voices to their Alexa skills within their sonic branding and multisensory marketing efforts as more consumers use Amazon's popular voice platform.
KFC Canada is among the companies developing sonic branding strategies as consumers are frequently exposed to messages outside of mainstay channels like TV and print. Many people have grown increasingly averse to traditional advertising, but often welcome unique experiences that are hard to find elsewhere. KFC Canada can provide a branded voice experience to its customers with the new Alexa skill while handling more routine tasks like reordering chicken.