Collective Shout has condemned a new Kentucky Fried Chicken TV ad for reinforcing gender stereotypes and for its sexist grooming of boys.

The 15-second ad promoting the global fast food fried chicken chain opens with a young woman checking her appearance in the reflection of a parked car window, leaning forward as she adjusts her low-cut top. The window rolls down to reveal a very unhappy looking mother and two young boys, who are staring open-mouthed having received an eyeful of the woman’s cleavage.

The woman smiles and says, “Did someone say KFC?” The catchphrase is part of a series of KFC ‘Bucket’ ads, with Bucket being a play on ‘F—k It’.

Collective Shout spokeswoman Melinda Liszewski said the ad was a regression to tired and archaic stereotypes where young women are sexually objectified for male pleasure; and males are helplessly transfixed when confronted with the opportunity to ogle a woman’s body.

“Ads like this reinforce the false idea that we can’t expect better from boys. 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”, Liszewski said.

“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”.

The latest ad by KFC is a backwards step towards achieving the goals set out in the Australian Government’s National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010 – 2022.

“Governments are putting millions of dollars into ‘respectful relationships’ programs in schools. At the same time corporates like KFC – which claims to care about young people – undermine these goals,” Liszewski said.

KFC was forced to apologize for “an immature and salacious social media campaign which was removed just one hour after it was launched due to public backlash” in 2016.

That same year KFC was also called out for showing sexualised content to customers via in-store TVs.

The company seems to have learnt nothing from the widespread condemnation it received then and shown no desire to abide by Corporate Social Responsibility standards. Collective Shout supporters are boycotting KFC.

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