KFC just revealed the newest star of its polarizing Colonel Sanders ads

Jim Gaffigan through the years
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KFC just revealed the newest star of its polarizing Colonel Sanders ads
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 21: Jim Gaffigan attends Big Apple Circus 2015 family benefit at Damrosch Park, Lincoln Center on November 21, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by John Lamparski/WireImage)
NEW YORK CITY - OCTOBER 11: Actor Jim Gaffigan attends the taping of 'The Late Show With David Letterman' on October 11, 2001 at the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York City. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
LOS ANGELES - DECEMBER 1: 'Alive and Kicking' -- Ellen counsels a troubled student who is also the star football player, on THE ELLEN SHOW scheduled to air on the CBS Television Network. Pictured from left to right: Martin Mull, Jim Gaffigan and Ellen DeGeneres. (Photo by Linda Chen/CBS via Getty Images)
NEW YORK - MAY 4: (U.S. TABS AND HOLLYWOOD REPORTER OUT) Actor/comedian Jim Gaffigan performs during the Museum of the Moving Image honors Jeffrey Bewkes and Leslie Moonves at the St Regis hotel May 4, 2005 in New York City. (Photo by Paul Hawthorne/Getty Images)
Jim Gaffigan during 2006 Sundance Film Festival - SAG Indie Brunch at Cafe Terigo in Park City, Utah, United States. (Photo by Fred Hayes/WireImage)
Jim Gaffigan (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)
Actor/comedian Jim Gaffigan visits the Nivea Lounge at Island Def Jam House of Hype Hospitality Suite on January 17, 2009 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Denise Truscello/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD, FL - APRIL 25: Comedian Jim Gaffigan performs at Hard Rock Live! in the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on April 25, 2010 in Hollywood, Florida. (Photo by Larry Marano/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 14: Actor/comedian Jim Gaffigan arrives at the 'It's Kind of a Funny Story' premiere at Landmark's Sunshine Cinema on September 14, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Chelsea Lauren/FilmMagic)
LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY FALLON -- Episode 402 -- Pictured: (l-r) Jim Gaffigan during an interview with Jimmy Fallon on February 28, 2011 (Photo by Lloyd Bishop/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 29: Comedian Jim Gaffigan performs at Central Park SummerStage on June 29, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 09: Jeannie Gaffigan and Jim Gaffigan attend 2011 Stand Up for Heroes at the Beacon Theatre on November 9, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Donna Ward/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 19: Comedian Jim Gaffigan attends the 2012 Golden Goggle awards at the Marriott Marquis Times Square on November 19, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)
SANTA MONICA, CA - MAY 13: Jim Gaffigan signs copies of his new book 'Dad Is Fat' held at Barnes & Noble 3rd Street Promenade on May 13, 2013 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Michael Tran/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 06: Jim Gaffigan performs at the 7th annual 'Stand Up For Heroes' event at Madison Square Garden on November 6, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images)
THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON -- Episode 0043 -- Pictured: (l-r) Jim Gaffigan during an interview with host Jimmy Fallon on April 23, 2014 -- (Photo by: Nathaniel Chadwick/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA - SEPTEMBER 12: Jim Gaffigan performs during the Oddball Comedy And Curiosity Festival at Shoreline Amphitheatre on September 12, 2014 in Mountain View, California. (Photo by Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images)
THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON -- Episode 0166 -- Pictured: Comedian Jim Gaffigan performs on November 19, 2014 -- (Photo by: Douglas Gorenstein/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - JANUARY 20: Guest host Jim Gaffigan on THE LATE LATE SHOW on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015 (12:37 -- 1:37 AM, ET/PT) for the CBS Television Network. (Photo by Cliff Lipson/CBS via Getty Images)

KFC has hired comedian Jim Gaffigan to portray its mascot, Colonel Sanders, in television ads, the company told Business Insider.

Gaffigan replaces Norm MacDonald, who took over the role from Darrell Hammond in August of 2015.

Gaffigan will make his debut as the Colonel in an ad airing during CBS' pre-Super Bowl broadcast. The ad will air again during the second half of the game.

KFC hadn't used Colonel Sanders in advertising for 21 years before bringing him back in a new advertising campaign last May.

The ads have generated a mixed response from customers, with many saying they hate them.

But analysts and company executives have credited the marketing campaign with helping to boost sales in the US.

The chain's same-store sales grew 3% in fiscal 2015, after plunging more than 15% two years earlier.

"The brand's reinvigoration with Saturday Night Live alums playing the role of founder Colonel Sanders has brought some buzz back to the concept," Nomura analyst Mark Kalinowski wrote in a recent note.

Here's the new ad starring Gaffigan.

KFC executives say the ads have helped bring relevance back to the brand.

"If you looked at social media over Halloween, there were zillions of Colonel Sanders costumes — not just kids, but adults," Kevin Hochman, KFC's chief marketing officer, said at an event debuting Nashville Hot Chicken in New York City in January.

The new 30-second ad starring Gaffigan features Colonel Sanders waking from a nightmare in which Norm MacDonald has stolen the Colonel's identity and takes credit for coming up with KFC's new Nashville Hot Chicken, which was released earlier this year.

A second ad starring Gaffigan will be released later this month, the company said.

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