Sure, international commercials do have a tendency to have a different sensibility than what we Americans are used to,
but I think we can all agree this recent KFC South Africa ad is simply in bad taste. Australian surfer Mick Fanning’s mother (who nearly lost a second son) certainly thinks so, and personally, I can’t even wrap my head around who thought this was a good idea. This past July, Fanning was participating in a competition in Jeffreys Bay, South Africa when he encountered what appeared to be a great white shark; Fanning used his board and punched and kicked the shark to protect himself, and was eventually rescued (physically unharmed) by boat. Here’s live coverage from that day:
That same exact footage of the shark approaching Fanning appears in KFC’s ad for its “Jacked Up Double Crunch Burger” — aka your next fast food heart attack on a bun — and at least one family isn’t too happy about it.
Fanning’s mother, Elizabeth Osborne, made a statement that pretty much speaks for anyone with a lick of sense (basically, anyone not involved in making that commercial).
“I think it is very disrespectful. 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 and some people are still absolutely scarred without limbs. It’s disrespectful to them and Mick is not at all happy with that.
It’s disrespectful to anyone who has been attacked by a shark and he [Mick] wants it off as well. We’re very upset about it.”
(Osborne has hired an attorney to have the advertisement removed from airing.)
Surfer magazine also slammed the ad, noting “”The guy quarrels with a shark on live webcast, sees his life flash before his eyes, and now a fried-chicken chain is poking fun at his close call.”
While KFC South Africa has yet to comment, KFC Australia (where the highest number of fatal attacks have occurred) didn’t hold back their thoughts:
“The advertisement has been produced in South Africa - KFC Australia is very sensitive to the situation in Australia and this is not the type of ad we would choose to show here.”
Methinks this particular bit of stupidity may bite its creators in the ass.