KFC pinged for deceptive advertising in latest Ad Standards breaches

KFC and parent company Yum Restaurants International are among those found to have breached Ad Standards, in recent community panel cases filed.

A complaint was made about KFC promoting free delivery on its ‘Christmas In July Feast’, which has been advertised across online, social video, radio and KFC owned channels.

“The product purchased via the app using the pickup option is $49.95. Choosing the delivery option the product states free delivery but the cost changes to $52.95. This is not free delivery,” complaints about the offer said.

The KFC website promoting the offer in question

In its initial response, Yum Restaurants acknowledged the complaint, but noted that the KFC app said pricing varies by location, order mode and store location, and that pricing differential “is standard practice across the quick service and takeaway/delivery food sectors and is expected by consumers in this sector.”

Yum said that the “free delivery” is a reference to the waiver of the delivery fee. “We believe most consumers would interpret the reference to “free delivery” as the waiver of the $8.95 delivery fee.”

As a result, the promotion complies with the Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) Code, said Yum, but revealed it had updated an additional disclaimer to the advertisement that notes that the free delivery offer ‘waives that $8.95 delivery fee only’.

In its deliberation, the Ad Standards Community Panel noted that there were two key messages in the advertisement, the primary messaging being ‘free delivery’ and the second being ‘KFC app only’.

The Panel also noted that while the target audience would include people that regularly consume KFC products, and might be familiar with standard practice across fast-food sectors when it comes to delivery fees, it also considered that the ad would be seen by people who are not familiar with KFC’s pricing strategies.

It thus considered that a reasonable consumer would interpret the advertisement to mean there would be no additional cost for delivery compared with pick up, and while the intent of the advertiser was not to be misleading, the advertisement did breach Section 2.1 of Food Code regarding misleading and deceptive advertising.

Yum Restaurants responded to the determination by noting that the ad had already been modified and the promotion ceased on 9 August.

Other recent breaches included Adelaide Strip Club, The Firm Gentleman’s Club, an institution with a prior history of Ad Standards breaches.

A recent TVC for the establishment received complaints for depicting women pole-dancing in lingerie, with a sample of complaints concerned most with the fact the ad aired at 9:30pm on a Saturday night during a screening of The Hunger Games on the 9Network.

“My 11-year-old daughter saw this ad on her way to bed. This ad was on way too early when many children are still awake. It is not at all appropriate at any time due to the objectification of women, let alone being aired at such an inappropriate time,” one complained noted.

The advertiser responded by saying that the Hunger Games is rated M and therefore not considered kids/family programming, and that “A” classified commercials are permitted to run from 20:30 onwards.

A Facebook Post promoting The Firm

In its determination, the Ad Standards Community Panel did not treat sex, sexuality and nudity with sensitivity to the relevant audience and did breach Section 2.4 of the Code. As a result, it upheld the complaints.

The advertiser responded by shifting the blame to the 9Network, saying the ad ran in line with the recommendation from the ClearAds rating and in line with broadcasting requirements.

“We would like it noted, that The Firm Gentlemen’s Club trusted in the recommendation of ClearAds Australia and our business trusted the broadcaster to make reasonable and informed decisions with respect to our business’s nature and classification,” The Firm Gentleman’s Club said.


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