KFC 'colour' tweet: 'We didn't take into account diverse socio-cultural nature of SA'

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Fast food retailer KFC Africa found itself in hot oil this week over a now deleted tweet deemed to be offensive.
Fast food retailer KFC Africa found itself in hot oil this week over a now deleted tweet deemed to be offensive.
Jacques Stander, Gallo Images
  • Fast food retailer KFC Africa found itself in hot oil this week over a now deleted tweet deemed to be offensive.
  • KFC Africa joined other brands, including Clicks, in apologising to their South African consumers for offensive adverts.
  • The Association for Communication and Advertising (ACA) says the ad industry is working hard to achieve representation.

Fast food retailer KFC Africa said it did not take into account the diverse socio-cultural nature of the country following the outcry over a now deleted tweet that landed the company in trouble this week.

"The tweet was intended to be humorous in line with the light-hearted nature and tone of the Family Feud show. However, this is no excuse," KFC Africa said in a statement to News24 on Wednesday.

"We fully acknowledge that it was not thought through, was insensitive and inappropriate and as such, we removed the tweet and issued an apology to consumers on our twitter page," it added in its statement.

This came after KFC posted a tweet last Sunday showing an image of Tsonga contestants on the Family Feud SA show. The tweet carried the line: "When you can't decide on a colour, so you wear all of them."

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The post was removed following criticism of its content.

"We acknowledge that we didn't take into account the diverse socio-cultural nature of the country when developing this tweet and take full accountability for the error in judgement and while we can't take back what has been done, in future, we commit to taking more care around such cultural distinctions," the fast food retailer said.

KFC was not the only brand in hot water this week - cosmetics and medical retail giant Clicks was currently embroiled in controversy due to a hair advert that depicted the hair of two white women as "normal" and "fine and flat", while the hair of black women was described as "dry and damaged" and "frizzy and dull".

READ | EFF to intensify Clicks protests, says members must push back if threatened

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) members protested at Clicks branches, forcing the retailer to shut down stores, which was expected to stay closed until Friday.

The advert in question was produced by hair product brand TRESemmé. It issued an apology and members of its executive met EFF leaders on Thursday.

On Wednesday, the red berets gave Unilever, the company which licenced TRESemmé, 24 hours to explain the offensive advert.

Diversity across the  board helps to avoid these kind of issues – ACA

The Association for Communication and Advertising (ACA) was of the view that diversity across the board was vital in avoiding issues of racism and discrimination.

"[However] it  may prove to be difficult to ensure that the agency and marketing professionals alike understand every single nuance of every grouping in society.

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"It is about having organisations that have a sense of the current social discourse, the issues affecting society, the make-up of that society and are able to understand what could or could not possibly result in being deemed as offensive to any party," the ACA said.

The association further acknowledged that it couldn't state the local industry was sufficiently representative, however, its constituents were to address this.

"We are actively pursing activities to ensure that representation is achieved.

"But at the end of the day, we are unable to control who is employed in a particular position, and that person, irrespective of who they are, may make a decision which could prove to be incorrect," ACA said.

To mitigate this, continued education and training were necessary, the body concluded.

The ACA was the acknowledged custodian of the South African communications profession. It's a voluntary organisation formed both by, and for, the profession, with the founding principles of promoting commercial creativity, underpinned by transformation and ensuring a sustainable profession.

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