KFC Pulls Commercial That Parodies Surfer Who Was Attacked By Shark
Kentucky Fried Chicken (or, "Hot Oily Hens", as it was dubbed by David Letterman) has done some things right. Readily available hot corn cobbettes is one. Another is making Norm MacDonald the new Colonel Sanders.
But here's something they totally screwed up. It's a commercial featuring footage from that surfer who got attacked by a shark this past summer. Mick Fanning was competing in a surfing competition in South Africa when he was accosted by a shark, which jostled him a bit. I don't mean to minimize that encounter -- it must have been terrifying. After punching the fish, Fanning escaped, physically unharmed.
So KFC thought they'd capitalize on that in this commercial that they recently released in South Africa. Fried chicken ad, or outtake from Sharknado?
Fanning's mother was not amused, and said so.
The ad, which promotes KFC's Jacked Up Double Crunch, shows a surfer wrestling a shark, then tandem-surfing with the beast. It was recently released in South Africa, where Fanning's now-infamous feat took place.
"I think it is very disrespectful," Osborne told Fairfax Media. "They've put a lookalike in the video. It really brings back a lot of trauma for everybody who has been attacked by a shark.
"Some families have had fatalities," Osborne said, "and some people are still absolutely scarred without limbs. It's disrespectful to them and Mick is not at all happy with that."
KFC, fearing bad publicity and also likely saying "What the f**k, it's only a limited edition menu item in South Africa," immediately pulled the ad.
The commercial was created by Ogilvy & Mather South Africa, which issued a statement of apology. That always looks good on a resume.
But someone at KFC had to sign off on it. Someone had to say to himself "It's perfectly fine to involve a shark attack victim in our ad without his permission, and use the words Jacked Up Double Crunch in the copy when referring to the incident.
In fact, one might call the entire thing a failure pile in a sadness bowl.
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