Many of you would have seen the recent TV advertisement for a well known fried chicken franchise and some of you will be aware of the ensuing outrage by some people who believe that the advert dismisses or demeans fostering in some way. In honesty, until seeing the media frenzy, I had given little consideration to the ‘issues’ raised by the ad. After all, it’s advertising….it’s not a job description or a government sanctioned public announcement. Isn’t advertising all about providing an idyllic ‘snapshot’ of real life….is it ever a true reflection of reality? If advertising really did reflect our lives, perhaps we would never buy ‘stuff’. In the world of advertising, ‘stuff’ is supposed to make our lives…our world…a better place. The advertisement is supposed to conjur some emotional reaction….to make us associate ‘something’ to the ‘stuff’.
In the case of the advert in question, the brief could have been something about warmth, family, food being centralised, food being a common denominator across all walks of life. As one blog I read pointed out, the ‘OXO’ advertisements were no different….and in my opinion, did a pretty good job of persuading us that it was needed on the table to bring peace to a potential battlefield. Just like the new ‘sausage’ advertisement….forgotten the brand (I don’t think that is supposed to happen), bringing peace to the dinner table. Of course, sausages can’t really bring peace to a warring family….no more than some fried chicken from a bucket can make everything better for a looked after child. This is advertising….and without exploring what some may determine to be exploitive aspects of the KFC (they deserve the publicity for being so brave) advertisement, it’s a case of ‘job done’. The advertisement brings a lump to the throat….it makes one feel a little watery eyed and wistful and maybe, just maybe….may make some people consider fostering. It is doubtful that people really think that to be great foster carers all they need to do is buy some fried chicken….because after all, everyone knows that there’s more to fostering…don’t they?