Silly Complaints about Silly Songs…ASA dismisses whinges about carol singers in a KFC christmas advert

Posted: 5 March, 2014 in ASA Advert Censor
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kfc-stupid songs advert

  Singing all our stupid songs

Two TV ads and a VOD ad for KFC:

  • a. The TV ad featured a song about making peace with those around you at Christmas time and featured various scenes such as two women fighting over a toy in a shop and a group of children who broke a window during a snowball fight. One of the scenes featured a group of carol singers outside an old man’s house whilst the song lyrics stated We showed up at your house again singing all our stupid songs and the reply Normally I’d hose you down, but now it just seems wrong .

  • b. A shorter version of the TV ad featured the same part of the song and lyrics.

  • c. The VOD version of the ad was the same as ad (b).

Thirty complainants challenged whether the lyrics all our stupid songs in ads (a), (b) and (c) were likely to cause serious and widespread offence because they mocked an element of Christian worship.

KFC believed it was a tongue-in-cheek ad which took a humorous look at the commercialised hype around Christmas. They said the ad typified the perspective of a very stereotypical grumpy old man, based on Dickens’ Ebenezer Scrooge, who was usually irritated by everything about Christmas, particularly Christmas songs. They said that the ad showed that this year he had seen the error of his ways and that the lyrics sung were vocalising the mind-set of the Ebenezer Scrooge character, demonstrating how he normally saw the world.

ASA Assessment: Complaints not upheld

The ASA noted the storyline about the Carol singers featured them cheerfully singing We showed up at your house again singing all our stupid songs and considered that viewers would understand this to be an ironic reference to the old man’s normal reaction when he heard Carol singers at his door.

We considered that whilst some viewers may have found the lyrics in reference to the Carols to be flippant and at the expense of Carol singers, we noted the ad made clear that the Carol singers were outside someone’s house and were not in a Church or any other place of worship and that they were therefore not representative of Christian singing or the Christian faith more generally. We considered that viewers would understand that in this context, the Carol singers featured in the ad were representative of Carol singing in general (which included faith based songs and non-faith based songs) which are part of British Christmas tradition and which are sung by both Christians and non-Christians alike. Whilst we understood that some people of the Christian faith felt that the song lyric in the ad ridiculed their faith, we considered that most viewers would not interpret the lyrics as mocking Christianity (in total or in part) and concluded that the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence


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