ASA won't investigate KFC's 'The Whole Chicken' ad despite receiving almost 500 complaints

Despite receiving close to 500 complaints from the public the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) will not investigate KFC's 'The Full Chicken' ad.

The Drum has learned that the watchdog received 480 complaints about the campaign, which shows a real chicken, sashaying around a barn to X Gon’ Give It To Ya by DMX in the style of a 90s rap music video. People objected to a variety of things including the way the spot depicted chickens despite the fact they are headed for slaughter, pointing out that it may be "distressing" for vegetarians.

Others complained about the music used, and the tagline – challenging whether the company implied that the only ingredient in its products was chicken.

Members of the public also challenged whether the ad was "disrespectful" to chickens and potentially misleading since it featured a healthy looking bird which they believed "misrepresented" the age, quality and living conditions of KFC poultry.

While the ASA acknowledged that some viewers may find the spot "distasteful" it will not investigate the issue because it doesn't believe it is likely to cause distress or widespread offense. As the ad doesn't break any rules the regulator says it will not take further action.

The ad body said that the TV spot, which is Mother's first for KFC since taking over the account from BBH in March, was intended to be seen as bizarre and light-hearted attempt at humour.

"The TV 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," it argued in a statement. "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."

The ASA added that it believed consumers were likely to understand that 'The Whole Chicken' referred to the fact that KFC only uses 100% chicken in its products, rather than an implication that every single part of a chicken is used or that KFC products do not contain other ingredients

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