Fast food chain KFC has been slammed by critics for a sexually suggestive picture it ran on social media this week in Australia. Carrying the tag NSFW — the Internet shorthand for “not safe for work” — the ad featured a man and a woman engaged in physical contact on a couch.

While the post was pulled after just an hour the debate lives on — with the Brand Newsroom team this week deeply divided over the ad’s rights and wrongs. It’s a real bun-fight. Have a listen:


Here are some key take-outs:

  •  It’s a cheap stunt — will it actually help sell any chicken?

“This is not a strategy, this is a PR stunt. Let me be very clear, I recognise this for what it is. But here’s the thing: Can’t they do a better job? This is so boring. It’s tired. We’re going down to ‘sex sells’.” — Sarah

  •  This decision was made at the highest level. The ad was never meant to last for more than an hour. Apologising for it, saying you didn’t know it was going to offend, is disingenuous. And that affects trust in the brand.

“I tested this with my wife and friends and everyone had heard about and while they said it didn’t upset them or make them want to go and buy more chicken, they did all know that Hot and Spicy was coming back.” — Nic

  •  Every brand wants something that will go viral but is this the kind of message you want linked to you brand.

“If this works other brands will certainly look at that as something they would want to consider.” — James

Here are the links you might need

  • Here’s an article about the KFC controversy.
  • Here’s the last podcast about Sex in Advertising, mentioned by Nic:


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