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Norm MacDonald as Colonel Sanders

Papa John’s International and all three of Yum! Brands’ subsidiaries plan to mark the golden anniversary of the Super Bowl.

Every year, Papa John’s, the NFL’s official pizza sponsor, and competitor Pizza Hut offer a special promotion tied to the Super Bowl, the biggest day for pizza sales all year. They also run Super Bowl-focused commercials leading up to that Sunday.

This year, KFC and Taco Bell are joining in the football madness.

KFC plans to run a new advertisement during the Super Bowl pre-game and CBS’s livestream of the game online, while Taco Bell is investing the big bucks on a 30-second ad debuting its “next craveable food innovation” during the first quarter.

The 30-second television spots during the Super Bowl cost a minimum of $4.5 million last year. This year, that number is expected to reach $5 million, according to Fortune.

The following is a look at how each of the four restaurant chains plan to cash in on Super Bowl 50.


The fast-food chicken chain teased plans earlier this week to introduce a brand new Colonel Sanders. An odd commercial entitled “So Long, Farewell” posted on YouTube featuring current Sanders impersonator Norm MacDonald implies just that — that MacDonald is an impersonator about to get the boot by a new Sanders.

MacDonald is the second person to portray Sanders in the past year. He came into the picture in August with a commercial claiming the Sanders played by fellow “Saturday Night Live” alum Darrell Hammond was a fake.

The new commercial is expected to debut at roughly 6:05 p.m. Sunday.

Papa John’s

The Louisville-based pizza chain is offering a free pizza to anyone who orders $15 or more worth of food from Papa John’s this weekend using the promo code SUPERBOWL50 and the company’s Papa Rewards program.

Qualifying customers will receive 25 Papa Rewards points that can be redeemed to buy a large three-topping pizza or other select menu items. The points expire on Feb. 28.

Papa John’s tapped its ties with the NFL and Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, a Papa John’s franchisee, to advertise its Super Bowl special. Check out the spot below.

Pizza Hut

Papa John’s may have “better ingredients, better pizza,” but it doesn’t have gold.

The Golden Garlic Knots Pizza | Courtesy of Pizza Hut

The Golden Garlic Knots Pizza | Courtesy of Pizza Hut

The Texas-based Yum subsidiary Pizza Hut will deliver Golden Garlic Knots Pizza, covered in $100 worth of real, edible 24-karat gold, to 50 people who order a Garlic Knots Pizza between 1 and 5 p.m. on Super Bowl Sunday. In addition to the pizza, the 50 winners will receive a $100 Pizza Hut Gold Card.

“It’s not every day that the Golden Anniversary of the Big Game is played in the Golden State, so we felt it was only appropriate to celebrate with a limited-edition Golden Garlic Knots Pizza,” Jared Drinkwater, the company’s vice president of marketing, said in a news release.

The Garlic Knots Pizza includes 16 cheese-stuffed garlic knots with marinara dipping sauce and can include any number of toppings. It costs $12.99.

Overall, Pizza Hut expects to sell more than 2 million pizzas and 5 million chicken wings this Sunday.

Taco Bell

The California-based Yum subsidiary has shrouded its Super Bowl 50 promotion in secrecy.

The fast-food chain has even poked fun at itself with an ad featuring NBA player James Harden, in which he doesn’t even know what the new product is despite acting as the spokesman.

Similar ads were created with spokesmen Giorgio A. Tsoukalos, best known as an “alien expert” on the History Channel show “Ancient Aliens,” and Texas attorney Bryan Wilson, known for his viral YouTube ads.

Media website Brand Eating believes the new menu item is called the Quesalupa, but Taco Bell enthusiasts won’t be able to find out for sure until Saturday, Feb. 6.

By visiting, people can pre-order the mystery item for $2.99, with a limit of 5 per customer, and pick it up from 2 to 4 p.m. The website cautions that the product contains the allergens wheat, soy and milk.

Those who’d rather wait can look for the ad during the Super Bowl. —Caitlin Bowling