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KFC ruffles feathers with textbook coupons
Updated: 2004-03-27 10:31

A series of Kentucky Fried Chicken's coupons printed on the inside cover of academic guidance books have found popularity among students while offending their parents and teachers.

The full-page advertisement, printed in maths exercise books, features five coupons for a total discount of 8.5 yuan (about US$1).

"It can save a lot," said Wang Wenjia, 10, a third-year pupil in downtown Jing'an District.

He said he had bought food with two coupons and saved 3 yuan.

"It's very interesting to have a KFC advertisement in our books. We all like it."

Since the guidance book was distributed with textbooks, many students tore the cover off.

A cashier of a downtown KFC store said four or five students would go to the outlet every day. They would buy chicken burgers and chicken items, according to Zhang Lili.

The advertisement, however, has triggered controversy among parents.

"It is okay for fast-food restaurants to hand out commercial advertisement in the streets or with other reading materials, but it is absolutely improper to print it inside an academic book," said Ren Xiaomei, Wang's mother.

She said children in China are long educated to cherish their schoolbooks, but such a book was sure to be riddled with gapping wounds after the coupons were torn off.

Li li, a teacher with Jing'an No. 1 Central Primary School, was also negative to the advert, saying that it would easily distract students' attention during exercises.

"Some students have even asked their parents to buy the book for the coupons rather than improving their study. That is certainly not good for students." Li said.

Wang admitted that pupils would turn the pages to look at the advert from time to time, especially when they were tired of doing exercises.

The publishing house affiliated to East China Normal University, the guidance book's publisher, said the advert was placed to fill a blank space.

"Seeing the cover inside was left blank, we naturally came up with the idea of putting up some adverts," said Miao Hongcai, marketing director at the publishing house.

The adverts were contracted to advertising agents after being licensed by the local industrial and commercial administrative authorities.

The publisher admitted that the cover design was not proper as it "breaks the book's integrity."

The country's General Administration of Press and Publication ruled that only adverts related to a book's content were allowed to be printed in a book after being approved by the local industrial and commercial administrative bureaus.

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