KFC Advert Exploitative or Representative?

February 11, 2015

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)

24 thoughts on “KFC Advert Exploitative or Representative?”

  1. We would disagree with your comments. Because someone else may do something, does not mean it is either right or should be followed.

    The biggest problem with this advert is that it is portraying a false negative or positive, whichever side of the spectrum you may sit. It is highly offensive to the very children that find themselves unwillingly inside a care system they had no choice about. Many are wrongly placed in the system, are abused within the system and are separated from siblings and family. It is all very well to say more adverts to support fostering is a good move, but try being on the opposite side of the spectrum. Try being the child or even the family who has just had their child removed and is contemplating suicide. Not everything you read about why children are in care is the truth. There is a whole world of trauma involved here to everyone involved.

    If we follow your wording that because “with everybody else doing the same, I fail to see a negative in a positive portrayal of fostering, foster familes and outcomes for children”, then is pedophilia the next acceptable advert to be seen on TV? There are certain things that should and must be left alone, and this is one of them. Do not confuse freedom of speech with freedom to exploit trauma for profit.

    1. Thanks TakenUK for your views. I think without doubt, coming from your perspective where a system has failed in some way there can be nothing positive about a positive portrayal that does not represent the negative posibilities. We have had a similar discussion with a care leaver who had a negative experience of foster care many years ago. Any advert can only represent on example. We have to assume that this example is of a child who required protecting from their birth circumstances. Coming into care, whatever the circumstances is traumatic and representative of past pain, current pain and elements of future pain. To present that fostering being a good thing is akin to someone thinking pedophilia is a good thing can only come from a failure to recognise that many children need to be protected whereas it cannot be argued that children should ever be involved in pedophilia. Whether your experiences have been negative does not negate the fact that good foster homes are required for children. This is seperate to the premiss that some children and families must be failed by a system that will, like any other make mistakes. I don’t mean to underplay the resulting fallout of such mistakes because I imagine it is unimaginable. I think if I had suffered the same fate I would be angry and accusing too and as I think about it now, I would resent this KFC advert too but there must remain a context in this. It still remains that more loving foster homes are needed for an ever increasing number of children and adverts like this may help to promote a positive awareness of foster care. In addition, there should in society be representations of modern life and foster care has for years and will remain for years a part of modern life. Without doubt anyone that genuinely respects children and their families would hope that children are removed for the right reasons and the right decisions are made. I am sure most children are removed for the right reasons, most of the time it would be contested, and some of the time more perhaps should have been done in the home to support rather than remove. For anyone that has genuinely suffered being treated unfairly I am genuinely sad, as I am for the children that are rightfully removed and as I am for many who should have been removed and protected and yet remain in an abusive environment.

  2. Aside from whether the child is ‘fostered’, ‘Adopted’ or any other scenario….does it not show that ‘family’ is expressed and made up in many ways, that acceptance, togetherness, people that are there for each other in the celebrations and milestones, these things are still at the core for us all, needed by all of us ….the product in some senses is irrelevant KFC or Bisto or anything else.

    Its just an advert, of one ‘family’ scenario.

    Let’s not get talking about Sainsburys or John Lewis at Christmas.
    One size does not fit all in life, one childs life story is not the same as another…but the basic needs remain the same and that is what fostering families seek to provide.

  3. Oh for goodness sake!!! People need to see the advert for what it is!!!!! KFC!!!! It’s a lovely idylic story about a young kid trying to fit into his new home…and how it affects him!! To be honest it had me in tears as it totally touches my heart!!! And before anyone comments…..I work for social work after being a foster carer beforehand!!! There’s too much negativity in the world towards this subject so…. Come in folks…..open your mind!!!!

  4. If a child has been genuinely removed from their family , do you honestly think a chicken wing is all it will take to get them to sit and interact with strangers. Social Services say a child is only removed if they have been abused or in danger of being abused it is their last resort their aim is to keep families together . So therefore that child would arrive at the home withdrawn , wary, bewildered and frightened. If you want to help children in danger then please do not make a mockery of a child in need a child taken for the right reasons will need a lot of counselling and love not a KFC. Foster care for a child in need is a blessing. A child taken on hearsay which sadly Social Services seem to think is enough to remove a child from parents who just might need a little guidance these children will be the more confident , curious and will come downstairs for food because hey ho I will be going home tomorrow . Your advert is exploiting vulnerable children all for a chicken wing and if you had done your research properly you would have seen that Social Services abuse their power and families

  5. Yes the oxo adverts did show a family life but it was their family not the children of someone else’s family………hate this advert as there have been so many families destroyed by ss stealing children and can’t believe that kfc think that by giving a child a fast food meal can make it all better……..

  6. i feel adverts like this is just rubbing salt into the wounds of parents who have had their children stolen for forced adoption , i picture my grand children in a strange place with strange people , as if eating a piece of fast food chicken is going to help them . there seems to be a few adverts sneaking into the system , like the marmite one … people hammering on a door saying there is a report of neglect . going through cupboards , all for a jar of marmite .. too close to the heart for my liking . adverts like these just seem to be put in place to upset parents and grand parents who have lost children to the care system for the flimsiest of reasons .

  7. I’m a foster carer and am pleased to see a different type of family other than the generic 2 (often blonde haired blue eyed) kids and ‘perfect’ mum and dad represented on TV.although the care system is far from perfect we foster carers do our best to help the children in our care feel as normal and settled as possible. Having a KFC (other junk food outlets are available) is normal and on that first day of a new placement food and the basics are the starting point! It’s a lovely advert and wether it’s cynical or not it’s still got us talking about foster children and that’s got to be a good thing.

  8. as someone who adopted an infant in foster care, I do not class myself as stealing the child…they were in danger and would have stayed in the foster system otherwise. I think it’s a good advert that shows all the different types of families there are.

  9. I just cant believe some of the negative comments expressed here,,i think the advert brilliant and yes like previous correspondents was moved to tears..I was with my siblings in social care for many years,,and until recently with my wife foster carers for twelve years..So i think i can speak with some experience and i know that the offer of a Macdonalds,,KFC etc etc is a good ice breaker..So less of the negativity please, look for the positives..The advert has certainly highlighted the problem that exists in our society however, that there is a great need for foster carers,adopters and the like..Anyone interested please do so,,i can recommend,,sure there will hard work,,frustration,,heartache/heartbreak,plus loads of other emotions,,but in the end rewarding..

  10. I think that this advert is brilliant, having grown up in the care system my self, I can see were KFC are coming from, they are saying in the first part of the video, the father is saying welcome to the family by offering KFC, the boy goes through life, it shows positives and negatives about being foster carers.
    Then when the first foster child comes back with what I can assume is his pregant wife.
    He talks to the new foster child and asks him “settling in” this is a pinicial part of the advert as the boy sits down it reminds the older foster boy of when he first entered the care system.
    Great advert.

  11. As an adopted person I think it is a real positive seeing a non-traditional family being represented in an advertisement be it eplotitive or not if it makes any foster kid or adopted kids feel “normal” because it is now in an adl, or hopeful or happy because it is a happy ad, then I is worth it and a good call.

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