According to posts on social media, the commercial is causing viewers to rethink eating chicken as they make the connection between KFC’s wings, thighs, and breasts and the intelligent animals killed to make them.
Many on social media have called the ad “disgusting” and say it “doesn’t make me want to eat meat, it makes me want to do the exact opposite.”
In response, a KFC spokesperson told The Independent that the company stood behind its commercial, stating, “Our fans know that when they eat with us it’s all about the chicken, the whole chicken and nothing but the chicken, so seeing one in our ad shouldn’t come as a surprise.
“We’re proud of our chicken, freshly prepared in our restaurants and sourced from Red Tractor Assured farms, and we’re not afraid to show it. ‘The Whole Chicken’ represents a step change for us, taking a bolder stance when it comes to engaging with our loyal customers and fans.”
The idea behind the ad is that it emphasizes that KFC’s products are 100% chicken, but it also serves as a glaring reminder that what you’re eating is an animal.
Jane Land, co-founder of Veganuary, told HuffPost UK the ad “seriously misfires” for two reasons.
“Firstly, it suggests that the chickens slaughtered and butchered for KFC have a life worth living which – inside those filthy, crammed, factory-farm sheds – they absolutely don’t.
“But it also shows the character of the birds, that chickens are bold creatures, who are inquisitive and active, and making this connection will only turn people off eating their flesh.”
Elisa Allen, PETA UK’s director, said, “It certainly looks as if we designed it, because it challenges anyone thinking of eating chickens to look these smart, sociable, sensitive, and beautiful birds in the eye and recognise that they’re individuals, not body parts to be battered as nuggets.
“Perhaps KFC is setting the stage to add increasingly popular vegan ‘chicken’ and other plant-based items to its menu.”
Hermeti Balarin, executive creative director of Mother (KFC’s ad agency), said, “KFC chicken is of the highest quality. But somehow, despite previous attempts at communicating this message, people never really got it. So we created a campaign that is impossible to ignore.”