KFC bid to clean up image after high-profile attacks

Fast-food firm seeks consultancy to counter celebrity-led animal charity campaign.

Fast-food behemoth KFC is embarking on a fresh comms strategy to head off a growing number of attacks on its reputation.

KFC is seeking specialist PR support to fight damaging allegations from animal rights charity Peta, which claims the restaurant chain is responsible for 'live scalding, painful debeaking, crippled chickens'.

Worryingly for KFC, Peta has already secured high-profile celebrity backing for its anti-KFC campaign, enlisting actress Pamela Anderson and singer KT Tunstall across the UK.

KFC is looking for an agency to handle a newly created CSR and corporate brief. It has approached a number of consultancies for the UK and Ireland account, with pitches expected to take place in the first week of July.

The successful agency will be expected to 'proactively shift brand perceptions', according to a confidential pitch document obtained by PRWeek. The pitch document goes on to say that 'the key task' for the consultancy will be 'to anchor KFC's brand proposition within a corporate reputation strategy'.

KFC's new agency will be expected to improve the company's corporate image, according to an insider close to the pitch: 'It's not about health and wellbeing. KFC just wants to do good things.' The source denied the association of fast food with obesity was a factor in KFC's decision. 'KFC is not at the forefront of obesity-related issues,' he claimed.

KFC confirmed that the pitch would be going ahead but declined to comment further. Freud Communications will continue to handle KFC's crisis comms.

Peta this week escaped a ban on its anti-KFC ads that show a caricature of Colonel Sanders knifing a chicken.

The Advertising Standards Authority refused to censor the ad on the grounds that it was unlikely to cause any distress.

TIME LINE

8 June - Peta escapes ASA ad ban

6-17 June - PR agency briefings at KFC's Woking office

6 June - Baywatch actress Pamela Anderson writes to UK branches of the chain

1 June - Singer KT Tunstall writes to every Scottish branch of KFC, hitting the headlines.

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