We all know that the meat we eat used to be a barnyard animal. And as both an Art Director and a farmer, I know that not a lot of people like being reminded of that fact. That, however, is some of the criticism behind KFC’s first ad from agency Mother, which recently won the account in a review that included 15-year incumbent BBH.
KFC received numerous complaints about its ad, The Whole Chicken, which shows a real chicken, sashaying around a barn to X Gonna Give It To Ya by DMX in the style of a 90s rap music video.
Upon launching the ad, Meg Farren, Chief Marketing Officer of KFC, said: “At KFC we’re proud of our chicken, we’re not afraid to show it. The Whole Chicken represents a step change for us, taking a bolder stance when it comes to engaging with our loyal customers and fans.”
But the ad has provoked outrage and has been condemned as disgusting. Some people were upset at the way the spot depicted chickens, despite the fact they’re headed for slaughter; pointing out that it may be distressing for vegetarians. While others complained about the music and the tagline; challenging whether the company implied that the only ingredient in its products was chicken. Furthermore, members of the public also challenged whether the ad was potentially misleading; featuring a healthy looking bird which they believed misrepresented the age, quality and living conditions of KFC poultry.
While the Advertising Standards Authority acknowledged that some viewers may find the spot distasteful it will not investigate the issue. The ASA doesn’t believe it’s likely to cause distress or widespread offence. As the ad does not break any rules the ASA says it will not take further action. The ASA added that it believed consumers understand that The Whole Chicken referred to the fact that KFC only uses 100% chicken in its products; rather than implying that KFC products don’t contain other ingredients besides chicken.
All in all, the ASA received around 480 complaints about KFC’s The Whole Chicken ad. Take a look at the video below and decide for yourself whether it’s disrespectful to chickens.
The Whole Chicken
For more controversy from KFC, take a look at a Zinger Burger made from a meteorite sold to a vegan family.
Daniel is an Art Director and Graphic Designer with over a decade of experience in advertising and marketing in the Greater Toronto Area.