Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) was forced to take down a series of advertisements after receiving backlash from viewers amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which has claimed more than 4,700 lives and infected over 1,28,000 people around the world.
While doctors and medical experts struggle to find a cure for COVID-19, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has advised the general public to take precautions such as limiting social interaction, washing hands, avoid touching the face and maintain good hygiene in order to curb the spread of the deadly virus. Therefore, when some viewers saw the fast-food chain promoting its "finger lickin good" slogan on television, it didn't go down too well with them.
KFC takes down 'inappropriate ads' after complaints
The company decided to suspend its ad campaign in the UK that focuses on the deeply satisfying post-KFC finger lick after the country's advertising watchdog, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) reportedly received a total of 163 complaints from viewers shortly after the ad aired, according to Fox News.
The commercial in question shows a montage of people licking their fingers while eating in public places. In their complaints, viewers called the ad "irresponsible" because it "encourages behaviour that might increase the chances of coronavirus spreading," e.g., touching the face.
KFC pulled the plug on the nationwide campaign well before the ASA informed the company about viewers' concerns and issued the following statement. "It doesn't feel like the right time to be airing this campaign, so we've decided to pause it for now – but we're really proud of it and look forward to bringing it back at a later date." Check out the pulled TV spot below:
Other ad campaigns have been down due to coronavirus
KFC isn't the first brand that was forced to drop its advertisements in the wake of the worldwide outbreak. Hershey's recently suspended an ad featuring Bob Williams and Diggy Moreland handing out Hershey bars to strangers, often with hugs and handshakes while Coors Light dropped its "Official Beer of 'Working' Remotely" ad campaign. Both ads were instead replaced with product-specific spots.