Fast food giant KFC is in hot water after its latest advertising campaign was branded “sexist” by campaigners.
The TV advert in Australia for the restaurant’s Zinger Popcorn meal shows a woman using a car window to adjust her bra, before two young boys wind down the window and stare at her, as the camera switches to her cleavage.
Initially looking embarrassed, the woman then smiles at the boys and says: “Did somebody say KFC?!”
The scene then switches to a group of people eating KFC food at a festival-type event.
The clip, which has been watched more than 43,000 times on YouTube, has faced a backlash from a group called Collective Shout, which said the advert was a “regression to tired and archaic stereotypes where young women are sexually objectified for male pleasure”.
The group, which campaigns against the way in which women are objectified, added: “Ads like this reinforce the false idea that we can’t expect better from boys.
“It is another manifestation of the ‘boys will be boys’ trope, hampering our ability to challenge sexist ideas which contribute to harmful behaviour towards women and girls.”
“The research is solid: attitudes shape behaviour. A growing number of reports show how reinforcing of gender stereotypes – including in advertising – contributes to a lesser view of women, resulting in their mistreatment.”
In response to the criticism, KFC released a short statement, saying: “We apologise if anyone was offended by our latest commercial. Our intention was not to stereotype women and young boys in a negative light.”
The advert remained on the company’s YouTube page well after the complaint had been made, and it remained unclear whether it would be taken down or not.
Despite the criticism over its perceived sexism, some people online praised KFC for the advert, calling it “funny” and “brilliant”.