Many of us have now seen the KFC advert or if not will do soon on a TV somewhere. In the advert a young boy is shown arriving on his first day of foster placement and sitting down with his foster carers to share KFC that evening. The story goes on to show him playing on the beach, being taken home from school, playing football, finding a girlfriend, graduating from university, coming back to the foster home with his own family and being there to welcome a new foster child into the family as they get ready for their next KFC meal.
Yesterday we shared the video on facebook and asked our facebook demographic what they thought of it. A number of people felt the advert exploitative and that transferring sentiment from fostering over to KFC was innappropriate. But isn’t that what advertising does? How many years did we enjoy seeing Linda Bellingham with her family pouring the Bisto over the Sunday lunch. As a nation we became attached the the characters, the sentiment, the family experience, but at the end of the day it was just Bisto selling a product. Like it or loathe it, it presented a image of a family that, as a British society, we related to and of course seemed to accept.
As a nation we are more and more aware of how advertising can infiltrate every essence of our lives and how things that are bad for us are being repackaged positively in ever more cunning ways. But this is never going to change and I’ll be honest, whilst my family try and be healthy most of the time, like many families, we enjoy the bond and treat of a takeaway now and again which I consider is part and parcel of a normal family life. If KFC choose to use a foster family then great. Many foster carers on our social media channels liked the fact that fostering is being portrayed as normal and perhaps worthy of representation to the nation. One carer explained that her foster children were pleased that a child like them was being used in the advert. I also like the fact that it showed a positive outcome and the nature of how children move on and new children come in to start the cycle of support and development.
One story cannot show the life of every foster child or every instance, of every negative outcome or every tear, of every child that did not excel and did not find themselves enjoying the best outcomes and of every child that did not get the help they truly needed. It can only tell that one story and make one representation.
Yes, KFC are exploiting a story to sell a product, but with everybody else doing the same, I fail to see a negative in a positive portrayal of fostering, foster familes and outcomes for children. I’d just say eat KFC as part of a healthy nutritious diet, that is all ;o)