Meating Place, Joshua Lipsky, 11/21/03
Louisville, Ky.-based KFC said it will stop airing ads touting its fried chicken as being a part of a healthy diet. Bonnie Warschauer, spokesperson for KFC, said that the ads would end this week after a nearly four-week run. Warschauer added that KFC's ads routinely air for three or four weeks. She said that the company had already planned a fresh round of ads promoting popcorn chicken. Those ads will start airing the day after Thanksgiving.
The television spots were the first to come out of KFC's new agency , Interpublic Group's Foote, Cone & Belding, which was hired in September to try to revitalize sales at the chain. The spots were also the first to come out under the direction of KFC's new president , Gregg, Dedrick, and its new marketing chief , Scott Bergen (see Yum replaces KFC president as sales slump continues, Daily News, Sept. 16, 2003).
Jeff Richards, a professor of advertising at the University of Texas, told the Associated Press tha t the campaign seemed to have had a prematurely short lifespan , especially one that representing a new marketing approach. "Most ads you would want to run a bit longer than that because the production costs are high enough that you need to get as much life out of the campaign as you can," he said.
Even though the ads have stopped airing, a spokesperson for the Federal Trade Commission said that the agency was reviewing a complaint by the activist group Center for Science in the Public Interest that calls the KFC ads deceptive and misleading. The ads said two of KFC's original-recipe chicken breasts have less fat than a Burger King Whopper. The ads then briefly flash fine print saying that fried chicken is not low in fat, cholesterol or sodium. "Our ads simply set the record straight by providing consumers accurate information and facts about KFC's Original Recipe fried chicken and how it can be part of a balanced diet," Warschauer said. "However, we're not in a position to comment on FTC affairs."
United Poultry Concerns, Inc.
PO Box 150
Machipongo, VA 23405-0150