KFC is appealing to hungry football fans with a “real team” of its own and an interactive video game on Instagram. The restaurant chain has stepped up its marketing game just in time for the college championship game on January 11 and the NFL playoffs just around the corner.

Debuting on January 4, the Kentucky Fried Football Challenge will invite users to play the beloved sport via a series of animations on KFC’s Instagram page. A page of thumbnails will create an image of a football field on the chicken purveyors’ profile, along with a “start here” tab. Users will then select the play they want to run from the caption area and are directed to a football field with a marker showing how far the ball progressed down the field. Users then watch a replay of the gain or loss before choosing their next move—repeating the process toward scoring a touchdown.


Kentucky Fried Football Challenge continues a gamification trend on social media—following Gatorade’s Serena Williams’ Matchpoint and UnderArmour’s It Comes From Below. While the aforementioned games were available only on Snapchat, KFC is debuting its football challenge via Instagram instead.

KFC is also making good use of its newest in a long line of revolving Colonel actors, Rob Riggle. The Daily Show veteran is perhaps the first actual Colonel, being a retired Lt. Colonel with the United States Marine Corps Reserve, to take the role and play up the tongue-in-cheek humor. Riggle stars in a number of TV spots featuring KFC’s first “professional football team,” the Kentucky Buckets. As the “owner, head coach and marketing director” of the team, Riggle assures viewers that the Kentucky Buckets is a “real team and not just a marketing gimmick to get buckets of delicious chicken in front of football fans” while strolling through the locker room.


The running gag continues with “Speech,” a spot in which Riggle inspires his team for what turns out to be a photo shoot and “Mascot,” in which an injured player is miraculously healed by their oddly-creepy bucket of chicken mascot.