Is the loveable-looking KFC Colonel actually a cruel and mocking anti-Christian?
It turns out no, he isn't
A Kentucky Fried Chicken Christmas campaign has been cleared following complaints that it mocked Christian worship.
The two television ads and a video on demand ad featured a group of carol singers outside a house singing the lyrics: "We showed up at your house again singing all our stupid songs", with the male homeowner replying: "Normally I'd hose you down, but now it just seems wrong."
Thirty viewers complained that the lyrics "all our stupid songs" were likely to cause serious and widespread offence because they "mocked an element of Christian worship".
KFC said the campaign was a tongue-in-cheek and humorous look at the "commercialised hype" around Christmas.
The company said the ad typified the perspective of a stereotypical grumpy old man, based on Charles Dickens' character Ebenezer Scrooge, who was usually irritated by everything about Christmas, particularly Christmas songs.
KFC said it was not its intention to mock any faith or religion and it did not seek to offend anyone.
Advertising clearance service Clearcast said it considered the possibility that Christians may have been offended by the ad when they first read the pre-production script, but took the view that, because the context was light-hearted and tongue-in-cheek and because the narrative was one of unity and harmony, it was unlikely that any offence taken from the ad would be serious or widespread among viewers.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said: "We considered that, whilst some viewers may have found the lyrics in reference to the carols to be flippant and at the expense of carol singers, we noted the ad made clear that the carol singers were outside someone's house and were not in a church or any other place of worship and that they were therefore not representative of Christian singing or the Christian faith more generally.
"Whilst we understood that some people of the Christian faith felt that the song lyric in the ad ridiculed their faith, we considered that most viewers would not interpret the lyrics as mocking Christianity (in total or in part) and concluded that the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence."