KFC has apologised after claims its “sexist” burger advert reinforced negative gender stereotypes.
The advertisement for the fast food giant’s Zinger Popcorn box shows a young woman using a car window as a mirror to adjust her cleavage. The car window then winds down to show two boys starring, open-mouthed at the woman, while their disapproving mother sits in the driver’s seat.
“Did someone say KFC,” the woman quips before devouring a burger.
Collective Shout, a group which campaigns again the objectification of women claimed the advertisement is a “backwards step”.
The group’s spokeswoman Melinda Liszewski said the ad was a “regression to tired and archaic stereotypes” where young women are treated as objects for men to ogle at.
“Ads like this reinforce the false idea that we can’t expect better from boys,” she said.
“It is another manifestation of the ‘boys will be boys’ trope, hampering our ability to challenge sexist ideas which contribute to harmful behaviour towards women and girls.”
“The research is solid: attitudes shape behaviour. A growing number of reports show how re-enforcing of gender stereotypes – including in advertising – contributes to a lesser view of women, resulting in their mistreatment”.
Ms Liszewski said the advertisement was despite the Federal Government spending millions of dollars in a school “respectful relationships” program.
“At the same time corporates like KFC – which claims to care about young people – undermine these goals,” Liszewski said.
A KFC spokesperson said it was sorry for the offence caused.
“We apologise if anyone was offended by our latest commercial. Our intention was not to stereotype women and young boys in a negative light,” the spokesperson said.
The ad has received a mixed reaction online.
Facebook user Scott Oram said he too thought the advert was inappropriate.
“Scraping the bottom of your bucket meal with this one #KFC,” he wrote.
While other internet users described the advert as “tacky”, “disappointing” and “disgusting”.
Twitter user @Big_T_2 suggested people were too easily offended.
“We should just shut up shop and become extinct. Everything is an #outrage,” they wrote.