South Africa bans popular Chicken Licken ‘Big John’ ad



Chicken Licken has been ordered to withdraw its “Big John” television advertisement immediately because it “trivializes an issue that is triggering an upsetting for many South African people” – colonization.

The ad amounts to offensive advertising, the Advertising Regulatory Board (a replacement for the defunct Advertising Standards Authority) said in a ruling, and so is unsuitable for South African audiences.

The ad portrays the travels of a young black South African, John Mjohnana, or Big John, who sets off in 1650 to satisfy his hunger for adventure. Along the way, he overcomes various threats, including floods and wild animals, before arriving on a new shore and naming his discovery “Europe”.

The ARB ruled in favor of complainant, South African Sandile Cele, who said the ad “makes a mockery of the struggles of the African people against the colonization by the Europeans in general, and the persecutions suffered at the hands of the Dutch in particular”.

Chicken Licken strongly disagrees with these findings, saying the ad is actually a “proud and patriotic” attempt to uplift the South African spirit. The restaurant says it has a right to express tongue-in-cheek humor.