The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has ordered fast food giant, Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), to immediately change a misleading television advert.
In KFC's recent advert for a new addition to their box meal menu, the voice over stated: “The new KFC Family Burger Box - a choice of four fillet or zinger burgers, large popcorn chicken and fries. Feed the family and save a fiver - just £14.99". However, the on-screen small print said “Items shown £20.51 if bought individually. Prices may vary".
A customer complained to the ASA as she had not been able to purchase the box meal for the price of £14.99. She claimed that the advert had been misleading.
In response to the complaint, KFC argued that the “prices may vary” disclaimer referred to the separate items when individually priced. The saving of £5 would be made when comparing the price of the individual items to the cost of when purchased as a box meal. The retailer advised that this was made clear by their use of “prices” rather than “price” in the on-screen text.
As KFC stores are not operated as one chain - many of its stores are franchised - it advised it is unable to set prices across the brand. Instead, KFC could only suggest a recommended retail price. It is up to the owners of the franchise to decide what the prices will be in their store.
Around 15 stores out of 850 sold the Family Burger Box meal at a price higher than the one advertised. However, the ASA stated that because the advert did not say specifically say whether “prices may vary” referred to the total of the separate items or the price of the box meal, it could make customers think that the on-screen disclaimer only referred to “Items shown £20.51 if bought individually”.
The ASA ruled that the advert was not clear enough in its current form. In a statement it advised: “We concluded that it was not sufficiently clear that "prices may vary" referred to all prices quoted in the ad.
“The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Kentucky Fried Chicken to ensure that in future they made clear when their prices varied.”