X Gon' Give It To Ya!

Simon helps us understand why this is "The most complained about advert of 2017"



Funzi Island is a small island south of Mombasa, Kenya. It’s a ride on the infamous Likoni ferry, a short drive down the coastline, and then the adventure begins as you wade out into the muddy mangrove shoreline to the small boat that takes you out to the island. It’s a bit off the tourist trail. And that’s how we liked it.

My friends and I were camping but frankly, I was sweltering in the heat of a tent and decided to sleep out under the stars on one of the campsite’s rattan sofas and under a mosquito net. I was woken in the morning by a small herd of donkeys and a noisy troop of Sykes’ Monkeys.



We snorkelled in beautiful lagoons, picnicked on glistening sandbars and cooked breakfasts on an open fire.

On the way home, we stopped at a restaurant for Sunday lunch and I selected a chicken dish. We’d been warned that this was not a fast food restaurant but we were happy and tired, so relaxing in the palm tree garden with cold drinks and good company was just perfect. My dish would take a bit longer, as I saw the chef chatting over the fence to the neighbour, then passed her some currency and was handed a large black, struggling and flapping hen. Or “lunch” as I was to call it.

In the West, we are so separated from our food, by processing plants and locked abattoir doors that we don’t like to think of our chicken dinner being… well… chicken. That’s probably one of the reasons KFC don’t put pictures of their chickens around their restaurants or show living chickens in their ads. Oh, until recently!


This became the most complained about advert of 2017, with 755 complaints.

Meg Farren, chief marketing officer of KFC, said: “At KFC we’re proud of our chicken, we’re not afraid to show it.” Again, I’m not offended or disgusted like some of the people who took to Twitter to complain. I like chicken… I like KFC chicken, I am under no illusion that my chicken was not once a chicken, I just don’t want to think about the chicken or get to know the chicken on a personal level. I certainly don’t want to admire its dance moves! 

Another advertising faux pas? Again, who knows. The advertising agency would probably do a 1-hour presentation on social media traction, share-ability index, engagement rates… and how it’s “gone viral”. 

I would ask… did it sell bargain buckets? Or did it LOSE customers?

Under a palm tree, it all made sense. I finished my fresh (very fresh) roasted chicken and drifted off into a Sunday afternoon snooze. In my own dreams, my chicken was strutting its stuff to a Rolling Stones number! 

It was time to stop the malaria tablets...

Simon Rushton