​KFC Ad Named Most Complained About Commercial Of 2017

A controversial KFC commercial - which featured a chicken dancing to DMX's 'X Gonna Give It To Ya' as it heads towards its slaughter - has been named 2017's most complained-about ad.

The ad received a total of 755 complaints, amid claims that it was 'distressing for vegetarians, vegans and children', and was also 'disrespectful to chickens'.

But despite receiving so many complaints, the ad itself wasn't actually banned by the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA). The advertising regulator decided not to veto the commercial, as it didn't include any explicit references to animal slaughter, and therefore wasn't likely to cause widespread or serious offence.

ASA chief executive Guy Parker said: "Tackling misleading ads continues to be the bread and butter of our work, but 2017 again showed that it is ads that have the potential to offend that attract the highest numbers of complaints.

"But multiple complaints don't necessarily mean that an ad has fallen on the wrong side of the line. We look carefully at the audience, the context and prevailing societal standards informed by public research before we decide."

While the KFC ad topped the list as 2017's most complained-about commercial, it was by no means the only one subject to recent criticism.

The ASA received a whopping 29,997 complaints about adverts last year, with a list that includes ads featuring everything from a lesbian kiss to a mother telling her son about his dead father's favourite fast food sandwich. A pretty mixed bag, then, in the world of advertising standards.

Credit: McDonald's
Credit: McDonald's

MoneySupermarket.com also appears in the top 10 for the third year running, thanks to its campaign with twerking builders in denim hotpants. The second most complained-about ad of 2017, it apparently racked up 455 complaints from people who deemed it overtly sexual and potentially homophobic.

There was also a Currys PC World that came under fire for apparently promoting TV over Christianity at Christmas, while another ad for Dove faced backlash for its discussion on breastfeeding ("75 percent say breastfeeding in public is fine, 25 percent say put them away. What's your way?"), supposedly perpetuating a negative image of breastfeeding in public.

Over 100 people also complained to the ASA about an advert for Macmillan Cancer Support, which featured scenes of a father suffering from the effects of chemotherapy and cancer such as vomiting and crying. However, the ad was cleared as it 'served to illustrate the reality of living with cancer'.

Featured Image Credit: KFC

Jess Hardiman

Jess Hardiman is a journalist who graduated from Manchester University with a BA in Film Studies, English Language and Literature, and has previously worked for Time Out and The Skinny among others.

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