Animal welfare protesters have gone after KFC for its latest U.K. ad campaign, demanding #ChangeforChickens and asking Colonel Sanders to commit to higher animal welfare standards.
The controverisal KFC’s campaign from Mother—it’s first for the brand—includes a mural in London on which graffiti artists painted a new chicken every day for a week, accompanied by the words, “The Whole Chicken Freshly Prepared All Day Every Day.” It also includes a TV spot where a chicken struts around a barn to a hardcore rap soundtrack and ends with the line, “The chicken, the whole chicken, and nothing but the chicken.”
In protest of the way chickens bound for fast-food outlets are treated, the World Animal Protection (WAP) charity went to the graffiti wall, located close by Mother’s London office, and painted the slogan, “The whole truth about KFC chicken?” and the hashtag, #ChangeforChickens.
WAP also created a #ChangeforChickens petition and distributed video footage of birds in “battery” farm conditions. (So-called battery farms are where chickens are crowded into rows of idential cages.)
“While the strutting chicken in KFC’s advert roams freely around, the fast-food outlet has made no commitments to providing its chickens with more space,” WAP’s farming campaign manager, Ian Woodhurst, said in a statement,
“In reality, these intelligent animals often endure significant suffering as a result of the extreme genetic selection that pushes them to reach slaughter weight in just six weeks,” he said. “The quality of these chickens’ lives is nothing to make a song and dance about.”
In response, KFC put out a statement that noted WAP’s images and videos were not taken at a KFC-affiliated farm.
“Our suppliers’ farms are subject to stringent audits against the highest industry standards. [They] must meet or exceed U.K. and EU legal requirements,” the statement reads. “We’re proud of our chicken and we’re transparent about where our chickens come from and how they’re cared for. We have arranged to meet World Animal Protection to hear their perspective and take them through our approach in more detail.”
The TV spot with the badass chicken also offended some consumers. Nearly 500 Brits complained to the Advertising Standards Authority regulatory body about the ad, claiming it’s disrespectful to chickens, as well as generally offensive and “distressing.”
The ASA ruled there were no grounds to ban the ad, concluding that “although some viewers may find the ad distasteful, it is unlikely to cause distress, or serious or widespread offense.”
The KFC spokesperson added, “It’s a stylized advert that doesn’t make any claims to rearing or provenance. We worked in conjunction with the relevant authorities that approve advertising for broadcast in the U.K., to ensure our advert would be in no way misleading.”
Mother won the account in March from BBH London, which had the business for 15 years.