Seniors decry 'poor taste' of KFC television ads

KFC has pulled an ad that showed an elderly woman wearing a bucket of chicken as a hat, after the spot drew criticism from groups including the Alzheimer Society of Canada and the Canadian Association for the Fifty-Plus.

The Globe and Mail
October 13, 2004

Seniors decry 'poor taste' of KFC television ads
Keith McArthur

KFC has pulled an ad that showed an elderly woman wearing a bucket of chicken as a hat, after the spot drew criticism from groups including the Alzheimer Society of Canada and the Canadian Association for the Fifty-Plus.

In the original ad — which was intended to be humorous — younger family members each craved a different part of a chicken meal, while an apparently senile grandmother only wanted to wear the empty bucket as a hat.

The ad is part of a trend of ageism in advertising, said Judy Cutler, a spokeswoman for the Canadian Association for the Fifty-Plus.

"Suddenly there's this whole attack on old people being stupid and frail and all this kind of stuff. The Kentucky Fried Chicken ad was disgusting," Ms. Cutler said.

After KFC received what it called a "small handful" of complaints for the ad, which only ran in Canada, it was replaced with a sanitized version in which the grandmother goes hatless. "It was obviously something that should have been corrected, and it was," said KFC spokesman Emile Lee.

"It was not intended to offend anyone. KFC would never do anything to offend any of its customers, whether they be young or old."

KFC said that after the ad was pulled, it received several complaints from viewers who liked the spot and said KFC shouldn't have bowed to pressure.

The ad was created exclusively for the Canadian market by silver-hammer, a division of Young & Rubicam Ltd. of Toronto.

The Alzheimer Society said it complained to Canadian Broadcasting Corp. and to Advertising Standards Canada about the ad. KFC said the society also sent a copy of a letter to John Bitove Jr., who owns a major stake in KIT Inc., which operates 466 KFC restaurants in seven provinces.

"The feeling was that the ad was in poor taste. There is already a great deal of stigma surrounding Alzheimer's disease without media images compounding the issue by making seniors look trivial and foolish, which was our take on the ad …" said Carl Parsons, president of the board of directors for the Alzheimer Society.

The society was pleased at how quickly KFC responded to their concerns.

"Their reaction was fast and sensitive. Clearly, they realized that the ad had offended people and that wasn't their intention," Mr. Parsons said.

The KFC spot isn't the only one that has caught the attention of the Fifty-Plus association. Ms. Cutler said the group is also concerned about a transit ad for Mars chocolate bars that states that caffeine is for "old farts."

"It's stupid marketing. What are you saying: That old people shouldn't buy Mars bars? That Kentucky Fried Chicken is only appreciated when you're young? To me it's absurd marketing," she said.


Brought to you by WikidFranchise.org

Risks: McStumble, Canada, 20041013 Seniors decry

kfc
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License