A KFC advert has been banned after parents were left outraged about its tag line “what the cluck?”
Mums and dads expressed concern at the wording of a poster promoting a £1.99 meal deal. Parents complained over the campaign, which they say replaced the phrase “what the f***” – and advertising watchdogs upheld their complaints.
The fast food chain claimed “what the cluck?” was merely what customers would say to “a great value KFC deal.”
But this was rejected by the advertising watchdog Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), who took the decision to ban it. An ASA spokesperson said: “KFC said they did not agree that the claim included a word which was a substitute for an expletive.
“They said the word “cluck” was used as an onomatopoeic reference to the noise of a chicken, which was in context and wholly relevant to the deal, the product featured and the brand.”
KFC also claims that the extended ‘cluuuuck’ would prevent readers from making the connection to the swearword f**k, and that it was it was unlikely that the advert would have been seen by children because it didn’t appear on posters within 200 metres of schools.
But the ad has now been removed after the regulator ruled it broke the rules on responsible advertising and caused harm or offence.
An ASA spokesman added: “The written word ‘cluck’ was used in the poster and press ads and we considered people would interpret that as alluding specifically to the expression, ‘what the f***’. We did not consider that this connection would be removed because an elongated spelling of the word ‘cluck’ was used in the ad.
“We considered that f*** was a word so likely to offend that it should not generally be used or alluded to in advertising, regardless of whether the ad was featured in a newspaper which had an adult target audience.
“We also considered it likely that parents may want their children to avoid the word, or obvious allusions to it. The poster was likely to be seen by people of all ages and while we recognised that the press ads would have a primarily adult audience, they could still be seen by children.
“For those reasons we concluded that the allusion to the word ‘f**k’ in ads with a general adult audience was likely to cause serious and widespread offence, and that it was irresponsible for them to appear where children could see them.”