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Victim of PC culture or clever PR stunt? KFC apologizes over ad featuring boys staring at woman’s breasts

Victim of PC culture or clever PR stunt? KFC apologizes over ad featuring boys staring at woman’s breasts
KFC has been forced to apologize for airing an ad showing two young boys gawking at a woman’s semi-exposed breasts after a local group complained that it was “sexist” and the video went viral.

The 15-second-long ad for the Zinger Popcorn Box — which was posted to KFC Australia’s YouTube channel and has been airing on TV for weeks — shows a scantily-clad woman adjusting her breasts and checking out her reflection in a car window. The window rolls down to reveal two googly-eyed boys and their disapproving mother staring at her before she asks, “Did someone say KFC?”

In an era where people seemed to be perpetually offended by one thing or another, it seems that KFC should have been able to foresee controversy around an ad focusing on female breasts. Either that, or perhaps the fast-food giant knew exactly what it was doing and planned to use the controversy to drive more eyes toward its ad?

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Collective Shout, which campaigns against “the objectification of women and the sexualisation of girls” said the ad was reinforcing “the false idea that we can’t expect better from boys” and described it as another manifestation of the idea that “boys will be boys.” The group’s spokeswoman Melinda Liszewski said the ad was a “regression to tired and archaic stereotypes where young women are sexually objectified for male pleasure.”

While some online were put off by the “casual sexism” of the ad, others weren't too bothered and found it harmless and funny. Some more cynical tweeters were convinced that KFC and other advertisers produce controversial ads designed to provoke heated reactions on purpose, in order to draw more attention to the brand, with one calling it a “pretty standard ploy.”

Whatever the case may be, KFC issued a standard apology on Tuesday ensuring customers and outraged netizens that it hadn’t intended to cause any offense with the ad.

“We apologize if anyone was offended by our latest commercial. Our intention was not to stereotype women and young boys in a negative light,” KFC said in a statement on Tuesday.

The video has garnered some 300,000 views on the company’s YouTube channel and has not been removed. KFC did not say it would cease using the ad.

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