Finger-lickin’ dud: KFC told to dump dangerous TV ad

01 September 2018 - 09:33 By Dave Chambers
The ad “normalises a very dangerous activity in which people have been killed in South Africa.
The ad “normalises a very dangerous activity in which people have been killed in South Africa.
Image: Bomb Commercials via YouTube

A KFC ad featuring car-spinning has to fly the coop‚ the ad watchdog has ruled.

The Advertising Standards Authority said the disregard for safety shown in the TV ad meant it must be scrapped.

Consumer Jacqui Abrahams complained to the watchdog that the ad “normalises a very dangerous activity in which people have been killed in South Africa”.

KFC responded that during the shooting of the scene‚ for an ad promoting its Lunch Box products‚ it took numerous safety precautions.

These included filming in a closed and controlled facility‚ building a barricade between the vehicle and people and employing a professional driver.

The ASA directorate said: “[KFC] further explained that the intention of the advertisement was to tap into popular culture and speak to the audience in ways that are relatable.

“[It] also submitted that car-spinning was recognised in 2014 as a motor sport‚ and now is accepted by Motor Sport South Africa‚ the World Motor Sports Confederation and the Olympic committee.

“It denied any intention to encourage irresponsible and illegal behaviour or put any people at risk.”

The ASA said whatever precautions had been taken‚ it had to consider “what the reasonable consumer viewing the commercial sees”.

It said: “The commercial shows the spinning happening in a building facility like a vacant warehouse‚ and not a car-racing arena. The entire set-up looks like an amateur event that has been put together by amateurs – and not like a sporting event.

“The barriers used to separate the spinning car and the people watching do not appear to be substantial‚ and given the very short duration of the clip‚ are not immediately obvious to the viewer.

“The people are in close proximity to the barricades and they are‚ or do not appear‚ sufficient to protect the people should the driver lose control of the car. In essence‚ if a person were to imitate the scene in the commercial‚ it would not be safe.”

Even though a “fleeting disclaimer” appeared on the screen during the scene‚ “there is nothing in the commercial to communicate that the activity is unsafe. In fact‚ it is made to look fun‚ cutting-edge and cool.”

The watchdog said there were no social or educational arguments for showing the scene. “It is not used‚ for example‚ to educate consumers in how not to drive.”

It added: “The directorate is satisfied that the disregard for safety shown in the commercial is not reasonable and justifiable.”  

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