KFC stereotypes women - and young boys - in new TV ad
A supporter contacted us recently with a complaint she made about a KFC TV advertisement. The 15 second ad opens with a young woman checking her appearance in the reflection of a parked car window, leaning forward as she adjusts her low cut top. The car window then rolls down to reveal a very unhappy looking mother and two young boys, who are staring open-mouthed having gotten an eyeful of the woman's cleavage.
The woman smiles and says "did someone say KFC?" and cuts to KFC's advertising jingle. The catchphrase is part of a series of ads showing people using KFC to get out of awkward situations.
The ad is a play on tired old stereotypes, where young women are sexually objectified for the benefit of men - even young boys - and the males are helplessly transfixed when confronted with the opportunity to ogle a woman's body. Ads like this reinforce the false idea that we can't expect better from boys. It is another manifestation of the 'boys will be boys' trope which presents an obstacle to challenging the sexist ideas that underpin gender inequality and violence against women.
To end men's violence against women we need to challenge the foundations of violence, including sexist jokes and the objectification of women.
The research is solid: attitudes shape behaviour. A growing number of reports show how re-enforcing of gender stereotypes - including in advertising - contributes to a lesser view of women resulting in their mistreatment.
The Australian Government has a National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010 – 2022 and the latest ad by KFC is a backwards step towards achieving these goals.
Governments are putting millions of dollars into 'respectful relationships' programs in schools. At the same time corporates like KFC - which claims to care about young people undermine these goals.
KFC was forced to apologise for "an immature and salacious social media campaign which was removed just one hour after it was launched due to public backlash" in 2016.
That same year KFC was also called out for showing sexualised content to customers via in store TVs. In an email to our Director of Operations, Coralie Alison, a KFC representative said they had "no control" over the content.
It seems to have learnt nothing from the widespread condemnation it received then.
We urge supporters to boycott KFC and make your views known.
Have you seen this ad? Lodge a complaint now. Click here.
Write on KFC's Facebook page here.