Big John ad still painting
(Chicken Licken)
  • News outlets from India to the UK are reporting on the ban of Chicken Licken's "Big John" ad, which turns colonialism on its head.
  • Many are embedding the YouTube version of the ad, which has also spread across social media.
  • Everyone seems to be enjoying the ad – and if it is triggering anyone on colonialism, they aren't saying so.


After major newswire services the Associated Press and AFP picked up on the story, reports on the ban of Chicken Licken's "Big John" ad went global.

News that SA's new regulator the Advertising Regulatory Board (ARB) had deemed the ad offensive because, it says, colonialism was too horrific to be trivialised in any way, popped up in New Zealand, AustraliaAmerica, India, and the UK (in several different outlets).

See also: Chicken Licken’s ‘Big John’ ad has been banned as ‘triggering’ on colonialism

Foreigners, at least, seem to be enjoying the ads, if comment threads are anything to go by.

Boing Boing comments
(Boing Boing)

But South Africans did not seem to mind the ad too much either, as it clocked up more than 230,000 views on YouTube and spread rapidly as embedded video on other social networks.

Rather than finding the ad offensive and triggering, as the ARB suggested, South Africans on social media were nearly universal in finding it funny.

There was also an emerging conspiracy theory – for which there is no evidence of any kind – that the complaint about the advertisement had in fact been lodged by a white person pretending to be a black person.

Chicken Licken – which has built a campaign that includes interactive elements around the story of a black South African who colonises Europe – is expected to lodge an appeal against the ban soon. 

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