A TV ad for Kentucky Fried Chicken seen on 28 September 2018 featured a woman who was dancing in a flexible manner on a wall located at the top of a roof.
The ad’s opening scene showed a close-up panning shot of the woman’s sliding feet whilst she was dancing on a wall. The next scene showed a full shot of the woman leaning forwards and then sliding back on the wall. The ad then zoomed into the woman who was twirling around on the wall and then cut to another shot showing her continuing to twirl on the wall, whilst another dancer was in full view and was dancing in front of her on the rooftop floor. Throughout those scenes was a background that showed an opposite building nearby and an open sky.
The complainant challenged whether the ad’s depiction of a person dancing on the edge of a rooftop encouraged an unsafe practice.
Kentucky Fried Chicken (Great Britain) Ltd (KFC) stated that the intention of the ad was to capture the care free spirit associated with the product. They said they chose professional dancers to show off their skilful and fluid moves on a rooftop car park to depict the product’s philosophy of “living bonelessly”. Furthermore, they believed that it was reasonable to assume that the choreography shown in the ad could not be easily emulated by viewers.
KFC stated that the female dancer was dancing on a plinth in the centre of the roof as opposed to the edge of the roof, and believed that this was visible during the first scene of the ad where the edge of the rooftop could be seen in the background of the shot.
KFC stated that the ex-kids restriction imposed on the ad, by virtue of the product being high in fat, salt or sugar (HFSS), significantly reduced the risk of any dangerous emulation by viewers.
KFC stated that the ad was no longer shown on television and that the execution would not be used again in future.
Clearcast stated they had been aware of the potential dangers of filming a scene that showed someone dancing on the edge of a roof, and therefore ensured that the dancing did not take place on a roof edge, but instead, on a wall that was located centrally on the rooftop. To demonstrate that, Clearcast provided a photograph of that wall, which was clearly far away from a rooftop edge. Clearcast also provided two screenshots of the ad showing the woman dancing on that wall.
Clearcast believed that the average viewer would understand the choreography performed by the female dancer to be fantastical and reminiscent of a marionette puppet, held up and controlled by (invisible) strings.
Clearcast stated that the ad was approved with an HFSS scheduling restriction, meaning that it could not be transmitted in or adjacent to programmes commissioned for, principally directed at or likely to appeal to children under-16. Clearcast believed that this would prevent the ad from being seen by younger viewers.
The ASA understood that the female dancer in the ad was dancing on a wall that was located in the centre of a rooftop, and at no point was she dancing on the edges of that rooftop.
However, we noted that because of the camera angles and shots, the ad did not show that on the other side of the wall was the additional half of the rooftop floor. We considered that this, along with the landscape view of the sky in the background, depicted the woman as dancing on the edge of a rooftop.
We considered that the ad’s location of a rooftop was a realistic environment to which viewers could potentially gain access. Furthermore, because of the flexible dance moves as well as the young appearance of the dancers performing in an urban environment, we considered that the choreography shown in the ad was likely to be popular amongst young people.
We therefore considered that the ad’s depiction of the woman dancing on the edge of a rooftop was likely to appeal to some young people as an act of dexterity and daring that they could emulate.
For that reason, we concluded that the ad was likely to condone or encourage an unsafe practice.
The ad breached BCAP Code rule 4.4 4.4 Advertisements must not include material that is likely to condone or encourage behaviour that prejudices health or safety. (Harm and Offence).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Kentucky Fried Chicken (Great Britain) Ltd to ensure their advertising did not condone or encourage an unsafe practice, including the depiction of people dancing on the edge of a rooftop.