1980sTV Ads

TV Ads – 1982 – Kentucky Fried Chicken Nuggets + Goodyear Vector Tires +


Kentucky Fried Chicken was founded by Colonel Harland Sanders….who was an entrepreneur that began selling fried chicken from his roadside restaurant in Corbin, Kentucky during the Great Depression. Sanders identified the potential of the restaurant franchising concept….and the first “Kentucky Fried Chicken” franchise opened in Utah in 1952…..as they popularized chicken in the fast food industry….while diversifying the market by challenging the established dominance of the hamburger.  By branding himself as “Colonel Sanders”, Harland became a prominent figure of American cultural history….and his image remains widely used in KFC advertising. However, the company’s rapid expansion overwhelmed the aging Sanders and he sold it to a group of investors led by John Y. Brown Jr. and Jack C. Massey in 1964. 

KFC was one of the first American fast food chains to expand internationally….by opening outlets in Canada, the United Kingdom, Mexico, and Jamaica by the mid-1960’s. Throughout the 1970’s and 1980’s….they experienced mixed fortunes domestically….as it went through a series of changes in corporate ownership with little or no experience in the restaurant business. In the early 1970’s, KFC was sold to the spirits distributor Heublein….which was taken over by the R.J. Reynolds food and tobacco conglomerate….which that company sold the chain to PepsiCo. The chain continued to expand overseas, however, and in 1987, it became the first Western restaurant chain to open in China. It has since expanded rapidly in China, which is now the company’s single largest market…..while PepsiCo spun off its restaurants division as Tricon Global Restaurants….which later changed its name to Yum! Brands. 

KFC’s original product is pressure fried chicken pieces, seasoned with Sanders’ recipe of 11 herbs and spices….of which the constituents of the recipe represent a notable trade secret. Larger portions of fried chicken are served in a cardboard “bucket”, which has become a well known feature of the chain since it was first introduced by franchisee Pete Harman in 1957.  KFC is known for its slogans like “Finger Lickin’ Good” and “Nobody does chicken like KFC” and “So good”.  

Headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky….KFC it is the world’s second-largest restaurant chain (as measured by sales) after McDonald’s….with almost 20,000 locations globally in 123 countries and territories as of December 2015….as the chain is a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, a restaurant company that also owns the Pizza Hut and Taco Bell chains. 

The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company is an American multinational tire manufacturing company founded in 1898 by Frank Seiberling and based in Akron, Ohio. Goodyear manufactures tires for automobiles, commercial trucks, light trucks, motorcycles, SUVs, race cars, airplanes, farm equipment and heavy earth-mover machinery. It also produced bicycle tires from its founding until 1976. 

Of the five biggest U.S. tire firms in 1970, today only Goodyear remains independent, due to the challenge posed by radial tire technology, and the varied responses.  At the time, the entire U.S. tire industry produced the older bias-ply technology.  Estimates to fit the factories with a new set of machinery and tools for making this new product were between $600 million and $900 million. This was a substantial amount in a low margin business with sales revenue in the low billions….as the U.S. market was slowly shifting towards the radial tire….as had already been the case in Europe and Asia. In 1968, Consumer Reports, an influential American magazine, acknowledged the superiority of radial construction, first developed in 1946 by Michelin.  When Charles J. Pilliod Jr. became CEO in 1974, he faced a major investment decision regarding the radial tire….which today has a market share of nearly 100%.  Despite heavy criticism at the time, Pilliod invested heavily in new factories and tooling to build the radial tire. Sam Gibara, who headed Goodyear from 1996 to 2003, has noted that without the action of Pilliod….Goodyear “wouldn’t be around today.” Sales for 1969 topped $3 billion…..which five years later sales topped $5 billion….while boasting operations in thirty-four countries.  In 1978 the original Akron plant was converted into a Technical Center for research and design….and by 1985 worldwide sales exceeded $10 billion. 

Both of these companies Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC)  and Goodyear Tire Company were both running strong in 1982 when these ads were running on TV….and both have grown exponentially since then to the present.

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