We Need To Talk About KFC's Porno Tweet

Earlier today, KFC Australia tweeted an advertisement for Hot & Spicy chicken. The first thing to note here is that KFC is bringing Hot & Spicy back (hurrah!). The second thing... well, the image above speaks one thousand words, none of which are fit for publication.

The tweet at the top of this article isn't a third-party parody, nor a fan-made creation. KFC really sent this out to the masses on its official Twitter account. This means it was commissioned, approved and paid for via an ad agency. Wow.

You don't need to be a porn fiend to work out what's being heavily implied here. (The "censored" pixelation was present in the original tweet.) To really ram the message home, the accompanying text also includes the hashtag "#NSFW" ("Not Safe For Work") and the word "coming". Real classy, fellas.

Needless to say, the response to this blatantly racy advert has been decidedly mixed. Following a barrage of bemused and incredulous comments, the original tweet was removed by KFC.

"Edgy" advertising has long been a staple of the fast food industry. The US-based Carl's Jr practically built its empire on voluptuous bikini models and sexual innuendo. During its first years of operation in Australia, Nando's fell foul of the Advertising Standards Bureau on more than one occasion. (Who could forget the banned 'stripper mum' commercial?)

But these are relatively small players who used controversy to get noticed. (Indeed, since its successful expansion, Nando's has begun to tone down its advertisements.) To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time a market leader in the Australian fast food industry has released such blatantly sexual imagery.

It's worth noting that KFC markets itself as a family restaurant first and foremost. Their choice of advert just seems completely off-brand.

We contacted KFC Australia about the Tweet and it replied with the following statement:

This was a genuine tweet to launch KFC’s new Hot & Spicy chicken products next week. It was not intended to offend and we’ve removed the image.

On one hand, you have to admire the level of sheer gumption on display here. It's certainly put KFC on everybody's tongue today (eww). On the other hand, it's entirely inappropriate for mainstream consumption and arguably sexist to boot.

We're curious to hear what our readers think about this whole situation; particularly those working in advertising. Should there be higher advertising standards for businesses that cater to customers of all ages? Or should anything be allowed in the pursuit of getting noticed? Share your thoughts in the comments.


Comments

    I have seen that film and it was anticlimactic. Hopefully the chicken wings aren't.

      Just ate 'em. YUM - Now that I know he's a #PERV I'll #EATITEVERYDAY !!

    Umm When did hot and spicy ever go away?

      A long time ago, in the eastern states; in WA at least though, it has been around forever. That may be where you are based?

        Qld has always had it. Also I'm told qlds fries at KFC are a bit different, with more seasoning.

    "On the other hand, it’s entirely inappropriate for mainstream consumption and arguably sexist to boot"

    Ah, the PC policy is back at it again... Very soon nothing that remotely has to do with sex, nationality or race will be allowed in ads.

    Seriously, if you feel offended by this, you are going to have a long and unhappy life.

    I'd give him a handy!

    "On the other hand, it’s entirely inappropriate for mainstream consumption and arguably sexist to boot"

    "AD IMPLIES COUPLE ENJOYS SEX" - ZOMG SEXIST, MISOGYNY! BOYCOTT.

    Seriously, people need to get a grip. Using sex to sell isn't automatically sexist.

      The key word is "arguably".

        No it's not arguably unless you are goiing to say that everything is arguably everything because someone could possibly make the stupid argument. Women are allowed to enjoy sex and giving pleasure just as much as men are.

        Sorry to beleaguer the point Chris, but I'm genuinely curious... I can't think of a single way this is sexist. The news is just breaking so I was unable to find an argument, were you aware of one?

          It has been reported by other media outlets that the ad received accusations of sexism online.

            So that makes it true?

            No. The problem is that everything is labelled sexist these days, often by people who don't understand what the term sexist actually means (short: discrimination by gender).

            Nobody in this advertisement is being discriminated against.

            And I expect lifehacker to engage their intelligence and not just repeat what other media outlets are saying.
            If there's something sexist about it, sure, say "it has been accused of being sexist because X". Anyone who is saying its sexist is overly sensitive. Implied sexual content, yes. Sexist, no.

            Seriously, I'm curious, how is it arguably sexist?

              The woman is in a tight red dress and it's implied she's giving a hand-job -- in an advertisement for fried chicken.

              More than a few people would find that sexist. I never said I found it sexist, but it's certainly a valid argument.

                If people think that is sexist, then as far as I'm concerned, political correctness has gone mad.

                If people think the ad is objectifying the woman because she's wearing a red dress and *gasp* appears to be enjoying engaging in an implied sexual act, I think that says more about them than it does the ad.

                I can see people complaining about the sexual innuendo, for sure, but yelling "sexism!" is tantamount to crying wolf.

                Last edited 15/04/16 5:37 pm

                  I guess it depends on the intended audience. If KFC was honestly attempting to appeal to both depicted genders equally with this advert, than it's not sexist (at least, not deliberately.) If they were explicitly targeting males, the inclusion of a HJ-dispensing woman in a tight dress becomes problematic.

                Considering it is visual innuendo it would be a bit hard to reverse roles (I interpreted as she reaching into something "hot and spicy"). I agree this isn't sensible for mainstream consumption but I don't think any and all references to sex is automatically sexist, as some quarters of the internet insists.

                Would it still be sexist if a restaurant was trying to encourage people to "eat out more often" depicting a women sitting back with a pixelated guys head in her lap, or would that be empowering?

        I thought the key word was "grip".

    Those who complain about this should never go to any of the Nordic countries, their ads can be close to pornography by our standards. They have a much more relaxed attitude to sex and the human body. This is the 21st century, not the 1800's, however having said that, baby steps.

      Sex, corpse eating and more sex.
      Mothers milk to the herd.
      Luckily we escape this place as individuals.

    Nandos has an ad at Central that says, "my sauce, your face" - you know exactly what they are saying with that slogan.

    Great! LifeHacker is doing articles on sexism in the media. Let's start with news.com.au and ABC insisting domestic violence is a male thing... In the scheme of things, one of these accusations is orders of magnitude worse than this advertising. Go LifeHacker ...

    It's not arguably sexist. The woman is not being objectified, she's not even the focus of the image, and there is nothing sexist in receiving a hand job. It's a thing that people do and enjoy. It's so funny how the sjw types will cry sexism at any sexual image (because women hate sex right) meanwhile the feminist movements for better or worse decry slut shaming and wish to embrace their sexuality.

    The ad is stupid, not sexist.

    I'm pretty sure this was the original
    http://postimg.org/image/tz6yigkvr/

    It worked.
    I never saw the tweet, but Chris is doing KFC's marketing for free because of it.

    KFC must be stoked by the minor outrage and press coverage, I imagine it was all part of the plan and the marketing team are high fiving each other.

      This article caused 3 people (that I know) of in our office to have KFC for lunch

        Yeah I wasn't thinking of having KFC for dinner before, but I am now.

    I can't really see much that is sexist, but I can see mainstreaming of porn culture, and I find that a little sad.

    Faux and actual outrage is a commonly used marketing tool, but I feel like it is the last refuge of the incompetent marketer.

    Sexual innuendo is also a last refuge of incompetent publicity seekers, but this ad doesn't really have any innuendo. There's no double-entendre going on. The intended impression is exactly what they want you to have and nobody would be in any doubt as to what they are suggesting is happening here.

    So here's my question. If your "hot and spicy" chicken is so bloody great, why are you advertising it by showing people some guy getting a handjob on a couch?

    Here's how the ad execs worked this one out.

    Ad exec number 1: "Anybody got any good ideas about how we can advertise the return of KFCs hot and spicy chicken"?

    Ad execs numbers 2 through 8: "Hmmmm", "ummmm", "aaaaah"

    [minutes go by]

    Ad exec 1: "Fine, we'll go with a not-so-subtly hidden handjob metaphor again"

    Ad execs 2 through 8: "Let's all go to the pub, our creative minds are exhausted"

    Last edited 15/04/16 2:42 pm

      So here's my question. If your "hot and spicy" chicken is so bloody great, why are you advertising it by showing people some guy getting a handjob on a couch?

      It's classical conditioning, and it's a marketing technique. You use an unconditioned stimulus (US) and an unconditioned response (UR), to lead to a conditioned stimulus (CS) and a conditioned response (CR).

      So if hand jobs (US) make you happy (UR), then KFC (CS) is associated with that feeling of happiness (CR).

      I hope I explained that properly - it's been a while since I've studied this.

        Sounds like a sure-fire way to feel quite dissapointed about KFC's hot and spicy chicken to me :-)

        Guess that makes sense April :-)

    How do we know that image isn't blurring out a chicken? It kinda looks like a chicken. The fricken' chicken PC police are ready to moralise but this ad shows nothing inappropriate. The fricken' chicken police should go to Macdonalds or Ready Red Rooster - they'll be red red ready for the action you'll need to take to stop the zingerin' hot and spicy burn.

    Anyway sick to death of PC effwads complaining about everything. How about a 'we need to talk about effwad pc police' article Chris?

    Thank you.

      It's the classic "plausible deniability" argument ChickenTorpedoes. LIke if a policeman pulls you over for speeding and asks to see your license, so you pull out your wallet which just happens to ahve a $50 note sticking out the side. The policeman can clearly see it's a bribe opportunity. You know it's a bribe opportunity. But if you happen to get a policeman who is going to take issue, you can always say "oh no Officer, that was just a co-incidence that the $50 note was sticking out like that".

      We all know what it's showing us. But if anyone complains, then people like you can say "oh, it's really supposed to be a bucket of hot and spicy chicken". Which leads me to ask, under what circumstances in your life ChickenTorpedoes, are buckets of hot and spicy chicken pixelated?

    Girl is surprised by asian's guy small wang. RACIST

    Not only is this ad horrifically sexist, as any woman who gives a handjob to a man is being oppressed, but it's massively racist too. The girl looks surprised by the size of his penis, because he's Asian! And why is it a woman instead of a man giving the handjob? KFC's marketing team is staffed by homophobes. This is 2016 people, it's time we checked our privilege.

      Racism: discrimination by race.
      Sexism: discrimination by gender.

      Nope, neither of the above. No discrimination is occurring or being implied.

        Obviously there's no jokes on this site either.

    I thought it was clever and amusing, seems society needs to lighten up!

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