Complaint over ‘misleading’ KFC ad upheld by industry watchdog

A complaint against a KFC advertisement has been upheld by the industry watchdog for misleading viewers into thinking its $4.95 Fill Up deal is available at night.

The complainant wrote that the “vulnerable” women, who were depicted in the ad as being under the influence of alcohol, could be “forced” into purchasing an equivalent product at a higher price.

“Considering the context of the ad (late evening) I believe this is deceptive advertising as it is promoting a product that is unavailable at the time. People go to KFC in the late evening, often in a vulnerable state due to alcohol consumption (as the ad depicts) and may be forced to purchase an equivalent product at a more expensive price,” the complainant wrote.

“The ad is misleading, indicating that it’s available at night time.”

The ad shows a group of three women refused entry from a nightclub and as two argue against the bouncer, the third notices a billboard for KFC’s Fill Up Deal which ends at 4pm.

In its response, KFC argued that its marketing strategy aims to “depict relatable situations that encourage people to release their free inner spirit and be their true selves”. Its defence against the technicality of the meal and the 4pm cut-off is that the condition is clearly shown on the billboard that the women turn to, and disclosed on screen at the end of the ad.

The condition ‘until 4pm’ appears on the billboard and at the end of the advertisement [click to enlarge]

The panel considered the statement in KFC’s response that said “No individual or group of people are shown consuming KFC products within the Advertisement”, and pointed out that the women actually were shown eating the chicken.

As a result, the majority of the panel found that the target audience of the ad would perceive the message to be that the meal was available during a night out, and that the two appearances of the ‘until 4pm’ condition were not enough to counter this impression.

Consequently, the panel upheld the complaint and KFC discontinued the use of the ad.


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.