A KFC television ad has been cleared of perpetuating negative stereotypes after depicting two Black men transmogrifying into chickens after ordering a meal.
Broadcast in March, the Advertising Standards Authority was obliged to step in after receiving three complaints from viewers in a flap over the perpetuation of negative ethnic stereotypes, particularly a belief that Black people love to eat fried chicken.
The offending broadcast saw both customers sprout animated chicken legs as they collected their meal, only to break out into an impromptu dance to hip hop music with feathers flying all around.
The zany premise was cited by KFC as a humorous way to promote its ‘Big Deal’ chicken fillets offer, with the choice of backing track, animation and lighting designed to convey the feel-good effect of saving money.
Dismissing allegations of racism, KFC added that the advert was just one of a series of six that employed a range of actors of different ethnicities in the chicken dance role.
Absolving KFC of any wrongdoing, the advertising regulator said: “We noted the ad featured a number of people of different ethnicities also eating in the restaurant. While the Black characters were prominent, we did not consider they were depicted in a mocking or derogatory manner.
“We did not consider the ad suggested that all Black people ate fried chicken, or were more likely to do so than any other ethnic group.”
In conclusion, the regulator found that the ad was ‘unlikely’ to be seen as perpetuating that particular stereotype and as such was similarly unlikely to cause ‘serious or widespread offense’.