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An advert for fried chicken chain KFC has fiercely divided viewers – leaving many outraged at its depiction of a dancing chicken, and prompting one vegan organization to claim it could have created the ad itself.
The ad shows a healthy, clean white chicken dancing around an airy spacious space to DMX’s X Gon’ Give It To Ya. The aim is to show viewers that when they eat KFC, they are eating ‘100 per cent’ chicken.
But critics have claimed the ad has backfired in this plan badly, by highlighting chickens as sentient animals, and putting people off eating them.
Elisa Allen, PETA Director, said to The Independent newspaper: “Did KFC get the idea for its new ad from PETA’s ‘I’m Me, Not Meat’ chicken ad?
“It certainly looks as if we designed it, because it challenges anyone thinking of eating chickens to look these smart, sociable, sensitive, and beautiful birds in the eye and recognise that they’re individuals, not body parts to be battered as nuggets.”
“If it were up to PETA, the ad would also show that chickens can count up to at least five, are capable of self-reflection, and are protective parents.”
She also criticized the unrealistic depiction of the healthy chicken, saying: “Before they go into the bucket or bag they’re forced to spend their miserable lives crammed into sheds with tens of thousands of other birds, unable to escape their own waste while the ammonia burns their legs and lungs.”
Some meat eaters have reacted to the advert by saying ‘they don’t want to be reminded they are eating an animal’.
Twitter user Benjamin L said he hated the ad for this reason.
Megan Winton added: “Is it just me who thinks the new KFC ad is wrong? They’re pretty much showing off the happy chickens they’re essentially going to slaughter.”
Was KFC expecting this kind of reaction? The statement accompanying the ad’s launch would suggest not, with Meg Farren, chief marketing officer of KFC, saying: “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.”
While much of the response generated has been negative, according to advertising magazine Ad Week the brand is still ‘standing behind’ the ad.
Ad Week writer David Griner wrote this is ‘likely because it’s generating both positive and negative conversation’.