Food

Here's the spicy reason why KFC only follows 11 people on Twitter

We can thank curious Twitter users with a lot of extra free time and brain cells for asking the big, important questions about some of our most beloved food products.

Why, just last week we found out what the inside of Lefty, the Hamburger Helper hand, looks like thanks to a query by a Twitter user!

Now, thanks to another bit of sleuthing by a couple of social media muses, the truth has once again taken wing — or a drumstick, if you prefer — because now we know exactly why KFC's Twitter account (which has over 1.24M fans) only follows 11 people!

"We're glad someone finally noticed!" Lori Eberenz, a spokesperson for KFC's parent company Yum, told TODAY Food. "The Colonel was the ultimate salesman. Taking inspiration from him, we thought, 'Why not follow 11 herbs and spices on Twitter and see if anyone notices.'"

Well, they noticed for sure and the news is blowing minds across the internet.

Even rival Wendy's had to admit it was awesome:

The "11 herbs and spices" tagline has been with KFC since virtually the beginning, when Colonel Harland Sanders (yep, he existed) starting served food to visitors at his service station diner in Kentucky in the 1930s. The final 11 were settled on by 1940 and the recipe has long been a closely-guarded secret ever since.

Today, that recipe is kept in a digital safe that's monitored 24 hours a day by video and motion-detection surveillance in Louisville, Kentucky. But before that, it was kept in a filing cabinet with combination locks ... and before that, Sanders walked around with it in his wallet — until his secretary told him that was a terrible idea.

And of course you can't protect against family members who simply decide to tell the whole recipe to the Chicago Tribune, as Sanders' nephew did in 2016.

But back to Twitter and this latest spicy revelation. KFC has been undergoing a big branding change in recent months, including reviving the character of Colonel Sanders with actors like Rob Lowe and Ray Liotta in its ads. This slightly more hip approach to selling the chicken seems to be right in line with the hidden social media joke.

Vidya Rao
Ray Liotta has some chicken for ya.

So who was the real genius behind the digital play? Eberenz admitted that "the idea was hatched" (get it? get it?) "by our digital team along with our creative agency, Wieden+Kennedy."

She noted that everyone was certainly surprised with the news went mainstream recently, adding, "In the words of Bentley McBentleson, our digital marketing manager, 'Our vault was getting cleaned so I thought the best place to keep the secret recipe was on Twitter ... no one's going to look at who we're following!' I thought. Boy, was I wrong."

That said, we're reasonably sure that the actual recipe is not made up of bits of Spice Girls and guys named Herb.

Reasonably.

Follow Randee Dawn on Twitter.

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