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Chinese fast food chain disciplined by authorities for vulgarity

By Kou Jie (People's Daily Online)    14:37, November 22, 2016

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A Chinese fast food chain has been ordered to change its name and menu after its vulgar advertising campaign was bombarded with criticism on Chinese social media.

“Call a Chick,” a Shanghai-based fast food chain that mainly sell fried chicken, has sparked controversy nationwide. The company’s branch stores across the country have been boycotted by many customers, who criticize the company for being a bad influence, as its brand name and advertising are “erotic and disturbing.”

In order to promote their food, the chain has created a menu filled with sexually suggestive dish names, including “chick with no sex life” and “chick and booty calls.” The chain also refers to its telephone ordering service as “a hotline for calling chicks,” and advertises that Call a Chick food “will satisfy every ounce of your fantasy for a chick.”

The chain has quickly become an online sensation, with many Internet users poking fun at its name and advertising, as the Chinese word for “chick” is commonly used as slang for a female prostitute. In response to the negative comments, the fast food chain issued a statement on Sina Weibo on Nov. 19, promising its customers that it will change the content of its menu as well as its brand name. The company’s online menu has already been removed as of press time, though the company’s name can still be found on its website.

Call a Chick branch stores in Chengdu, Shanghai and Hangzhou have been ordered by local authorities to suspend operations, with the official explanation that they did not receive permission to use the brand name. Meanwhile, Shanghai authorities have carried out their own investigation, suggesting that the brand name may violate China’s advertisement law, which forbids obscene content from being used in advertisements, Shanghai Morning Post reported.

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The incident has drawn thousands of comments on Chinese social media, with many criticizing the company for its potential impact on children.

“My 5-year-old son keeps asking me the meaning of the dish names. It’s disturbing enough to see a menu with so much sexual connotation, let alone figuring out a way to stop my child from asking me about the filthy content,” one netizen wrote on Sina Weibo.

On the other hand, some believe the brand name is clever and creative. Many Internet users were satirical and snarky in their tone, criticizing authorities for overreacting and “killing creativity.”

“KFC has used the slogan ‘We do chicken right.’ If you over-analyze this [slogan], it can also mean something dirty. Those who have dirty minds will see everything through a filthy lens. I don’t understand how such a creative business idea could get banned,” commented another netizen. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Kou Jie, Bianji)

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