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Why Malaysians are so upset about this KFC social post from Antigua

Why Malaysians are so upset about this KFC social post from Antigua

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Fast food chain KFC has seen its brand sentiments plummet among Malaysians after its branch on the Caribbean Island of Antigua made a social post that seemed to reference the Palestinian refugee crisis.

According to media intelligence firm CARMA, KFC's sentiments in Malaysia dropped from 8.2% positive and 27.6% negative to 0.9% positive and 96.7% negative after KFC Antigua posted a picture that said, "#NoTentsJustChicken". The post added, "Sorry, no tents here, just finger-lickin' good chicken just the way you like it to spice up your weekend."

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Netizens were quick to point out that it looked like KFC was referencing the refugee camps in Palestine and being insensitive to the plights of those suffering as a result of the ongoing war between Israel and Gaza.

However, netizens also pointed out that KFC could have been jokingly jumping on a missing tent poster that was put out by the Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA), a story which seemed more likely. 

In the post by the APUA, it asked netizens if they had seen a tent of theirs which was allegedly stolen. The tent was last positioned in the vicinity of the Sir Viv Stadium to facilitate linesman training, according to APUA.

"This tent plays a vital role in our operations, serving not only our needs but also those of the wider community," it said, adding that those with more information should approach them to assist in the investigation. 

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Netizens pointed out that KFC could have been responding to this poster in jest rather than making a direct jibe at Palestine. Unfortunately, Malaysians have been in an uproar regardless. 

According to CARMA, the word cloud surrounding KFC in Malaysia before the pos surrounding its locations, its competitors such as McDonald's and its facilities. 

However, after the post, netizens in Malaysia were up in arms with words such as '#BoycottKFC', 'Palestinians' and 'tents' coming out on top in addition to mentions of Gaza and refugees. 

MARKETING-INTERACTIVE has reached out for more information. 

KFC in Malaysia has been facing increased scrutiny because it is under the Yum! Brands umbrella which allegedly has ties to Israeli startup Tictuk which acquired the brand in 2021. KFC Malaysia has confirmed with MARKETING-INTERACTIVE that Tictuk is not used by KFC branches in Malaysia.

Other brands in Malaysia such as McDonald's, Starbucks and most recently, FamilyMart, are facing boycotts from alleged links or perceived support towards Israel. Recently, the Malaysian branch of popular convenience store FamilyMart saw its brand sentiments plummet to 72.6% negative and 0.2% positive amidst calls on social media for a boycott of the store. This was due to links between its Japanese parent company Itochu Corporation with Israel-linked defense company Elbit Systems.

This is down from 6.5% positive and 58.2% negative in the month of January before the boycott began, according to media intelligence firm CARMA at the time.

Addressing the online controversy, FamilyMart Malaysia put up a statement at the time acknowledging that in March 2023, Itochu Aviation, a subsidiary of Itochu Corporation, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Nippon Aircraft Supply and Elbit Systems to import defense technologies into Japan for the nation’s national security.

"We have been informed today (5 February) by FamilyMart Co. Japan that Itochu Aviation is terminating the MoU, as per news reports in Japan. The decision is made in support of the Japanese government's support of the recent International Court of Justice order, which includes preventing acts of genocide in the Gaza strip," it said in a statement posted to social media. 

It added that it would like to reiterate its stand that it does not support violence or killing and that FamilyMart Malaysia does not contribute to or donate to or deal with Israel. 

Join us this coming 24 - 25 April for #Content360, a two-day extravaganza centered around four core thematic pillars: Explore with AI; Insight-powered strategies; Content as an experience; and Embrace the future. Immerse yourself in learning to curate content with creativity, critical thinking, and confidence with us at Content360!

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