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KFC's advertisements aren't just famous for the goateed Colonel Sanders. They're also known for their overflowing buckets of chicken, the iconic red and white stripped takeout containers transformed into a veritable cornucopia of finger-licking, deep-fried chicken parts rising above the brim.
But if you've stopped in for an eight-piece meal recently, you've faced a different reality: just a regular tub of greasy fast food, sans Madison Ave. magic, the chicken pieces sitting sadly below the rim. That caused one New York woman to sue the chicken chain for misleading images of buckets "overflowing with chicken" -- for $20 million in damages.
That Doesn't Look Filled Up to Me
Anna Wurtzburger alleges that KFC's ads for its Fill-Up buckets qualify as deceptive trade practices and false advertising under New York law. (With a name like Wurtzburger, you'd think she'd be eating at McDonald's, amirite?)
Wurtzburger says she purchased the Fill-Up only to be shocked that her bucket was only half full. When she contacted the chain to complain, she was told that the buckets were made to look overflowing so that consumers could see the product, according to Fortune. That, the lawsuit says, demonstrates that KFC was "intentionally misleading and deceiving the public when it advertised an overflowing bucket of chicken on television but knew that they would only sell 8 pieces of chicken to the public."
At Least the Coffee Didn't Spill, Right?
Her lawsuit originally sought $20 billion in monetary damages, according to the Wall Street Journal. Yes, that's billion with a B. That would be a hefty amount for KFC, which brought in just $23 billion in revenue in 2013.
A notice of removal uploaded by the Journal, however, shows Wurtzburger demanding just $20 million, a relatively paltry sum. That amount later dropped even more, to $9,999,000, according to the newspaper.
Wurtzburger says she isn't just seeking a big payout, though. "It has nothing to do with the amount," she told the Wall Street Journal's Law Blog. "The advertising is wrong. The ads show a big bucket full of chicken. It's wrong."
KFC has responded by calling the claims meritless and saying that it will ask the court to dismiss the case.