KFC’s ‘The Whole Chicken’ campaign will not face an investigation by the ad regulator despite hundreds of complains about the ad.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) says it received 480 complaints about the ad, which showed confident chickens strutting around to a popular rap song by DMX.
The complainants had a range of issues with the ad, with some arguing that the depiction of chickens was “disrespectful, “offensive” and “distressing”, while others claimed the campaign was “misleading” because it features a healthy, older looking chicken, which they believe misrepresents the age, quality and living conditions of KFC chickens.
Further complaints centred on the phrase “the whole chicken”, which they argued was misleading because they believed that not all parts of the chicken are used in KFC products. And some took issue with the song used.
The ASA Council did not agree, however, and decided the ad does not break its rules and will therefore not face a formal investigation. While it acknowledged that some viewers may find the ad distasteful, it said it is unlikely to cause distress or serious or widespread offence.
The ASA also highlights that there are no explicit images or references to animal slaughter in the TV ad. The ad is also restricted from broadcast around children’s programmes, and the council believes there isn’t anything in the ad that could cause distress to children.
Furthermore, the body said the ad depicts a “fantastical, bizarre scenario” and won’t be seen as a true representation of the age, quality or living conditions of chickens used for KFC products. Neither the TV ad nor poster contains claims about the conditions or the health of the chickens. As such, the ads are unlikely to materially mislead consumers.
Consumers are likely to understand the claim “the whole chicken” refers to the fact that KFC only uses 100% chicken in their products rather than to imply that every single part of a chicken is used.
The ad does not contain any explicit bad language and, while the song does contain lyrics which allude to guns, in the context of a scenario featuring a chicken strutting and dancing to music, the ad is unlikely to be seen to condone the use of weapons or violence.