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‘Madam’s chicken’ ad causes a stir

By Daneel Knoetze and IOL Time of article published Apr 25, 2013

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Cape Town - In a bid to clear its name of racism allegations, the advertising agency responsible for Xpanda’s controversial radio advert has released the entire campaign.

Earlier this week a furore erupted on social media after Xpanda launched an audio advert in which a man with an African accent is speaking to a fellow inmate in a prison cell.

The transcript reads:

Voice 1: “What you inside for, boet?”

Voice 2: “Eish, I was so hungry. So I walk up to the kitchen by the boss’s house and grab a roast chicken. The madam, she slammed the Xpanda door in my face. No way out. That is how I ended up in jail, with no chicken. Eish.”

Voice 3: “Xpanda, arguably the world’s best barrier security company. Dial... to get your safety on.”

The Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa (ASA) has received at least three complaints about the advert.

But ASA spokesman Leon Grobler reportedly said they would not investigate further because they did not agree with the complaints.

“Our assessment team found that the claims were untrue. They (Xpanda) saw it in a funny way and not as racist. The actors were merely playing their roles and we believe the racism claims are unfair towards the advertiser,” Grobler was quoted as saying.

In an interview with news channel eNCA on Monday, Warren Havised of Sugar the Agency, explained that “all ethnic groups” were covered by the campaign and that “people… would have a better understanding” once they heard the whole campaign.

The series of four adverts has now been posted on and will be hitting the airwaves soon.

Each advert follows a similar narrative (that of a character explaining “what he’s inside for”). Each incorporates an accent stereotypically associated with an ethnic group.

“This means that we have covered all the major ethnic groups in South Africa and have not singled out one group from another,” read a press statement from Sugar the Agency.

But marketing analyst Chris Moerdyk said the agency was just “digging itself deeper and deeper into a hole”.

He did not interpret the original radio advert as “racist”, but said that it amounted to “unfortunate stereotyping”.

“It was appalling advertising to begin with. It alienated a massive section of the company’s potential clientele. The first rule about advertising is ‘try not to upset too many people’,” he said.

“I would suggest that Xpanda write this whole thing off as a nightmarish experience and start again.”

A group of activists has also brought a complaint against another Xpanda (print) advert which it says is “misogynistic”.

Cape Argus and IOL

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