KFC: Out of the pan, into the fire
Malaysia - KFC's customer brawl scandal has a new twist, as the fast-food giant is once again dragged into another controversy, this time over an ad it placed on the same page as the main story of assaulted customer Danny Ng in a Chinese daily.
The front page of the local Chinese paper, Sin Chew Daily's, featured a picture of Ng addressing a press conference on the incident and directly below was a KFC ad promoting its latest ‘Family Feast'.
KFC could not be reached to comment at press time and UM, who handles the media buying for KFC, was not able to comment on the issue.
Some experts A+M contacted said such a placement was an unfortunate incident, as it only adds fuel to the fire.
A local PR practitioner who spoke to A+M on conditions of anonymity said the print advertisement, especially being on the same page, should have been withdrawn given the ongoing issue which the company was involved in.
"This shows a clear gap in the crisis response mode where not all the internal parties are involved. Clearly, marketing ought to have informed the media buyer and the media buyer, who ought to have been aware of the ad placement, should have asked if the client would want to proceed," he said.
Managing director for MEC Chan Keong Law said this could be due to KFC and the agency not knowing that the KFC story would develop into front page news today.
Law added that on the second page of the paper there was a statement from KFC which said that the staff involved had been suspended and the issue was under investigation.
"I think it is a speedy and appropriate response that will help to safeguard KFC's reputation but the question is how will KFC manage the issue after this incident?" Law added.
Natasha Zhao, lead consultant for Blugrapes said in a situation where the incident is very recent and fresh in people's minds, it might have been better if the ad was pulled as it could possibly be perceived as being insensitive, further fueling the crisis on social media.
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