Chicken Licken has been ordered to withdraw its Big John TV advert with immediate effect.
The Advertising Regulatory Board (ARB) argued that colonialism in Africa was “traumatic”, “cannot be trivialised in any manner” and is “not open for humorous exploitation”.
The commercial shows a young man, called John Mjohnana, leaving his village in a boat in 1650 aiming to satisfy his hunger for adventure. He encounters obstacles like being confronted by a jaguar (he instructs the jaguar to fetch and the jaguar obliges); a whale splashes his boat with water to topple it over (he rebukes the whale by indicating Haai maan Hey?).
A shark approaches his boat and he threatens it with his knife and as it turns away; a giant squid appears behind him (he seems not worried about it). Along the way, thunder and lightning obstruct his boat.
He arrives in Holland in 1651 and finds two white gentlemen looking at a map as they seem to be preparing for a voyage.
He greets them in what is well Known as Tsotsi taal in South Africa, saying Hola MaNgamla (Hello white people), and tells them that he likes the place, and it should be called Europe.
The commercial ends with an elderly man in a Chicken Licken outlet indicating to few customers that “this is the is the legend of Big John”, and he leaves the outlet laughing.
The next customer in the queue orders the advertised product.
The Complainant submitted to ARB by Sandile Cele said that the commercial makes a mockery of the struggles of the African people against the colonisation by the Europeans in general, and the persecutions suffered at the hands of the Dutch in particular.
Chicken Licken said that it is regrettable that an interpretation of the commercial by the consumer is negative.
“However, in its view the content in no way, shape or form seeks to make a mockery of the struggles of colonisation and its effects on Africa and her people.
“As a South African brand, Chicken Licken, is acutely aware of the need to uplift the South African spirit.
“And that is the place from which the commercial stems, to show South Africans that Chicken Licken believes this country has all the potential to conquer the world and rewrite history from an African perspective.Its tongue-in-cheek sense of humour is a tone that consumers have come to expect, but its communications purpose is to create a sense of pride and patriotism amongst South Africans,” argued Chicken Licken.
However, ARB ordered Chicken Licken is required to Withdraw the television commercial in its current format.
The ARB added that the commercial may not be used again in the future