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Chinese Government Shames KFC for Its Mystery Box Promotion

The China Consumers Association said KFC's promotion 'goes against public order, good customs and the spirit of the law.'

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KFC is under fire from the Chinese government for creating unnecessary waste with one of its marketing campaigns.

The promotion, which is a collaboration between KFC China and toy maker Pop Mart, offers customers a chance to win one of 260,000 dolls hidden in its 99 yuan ($15.57) family-sized chicken bucket. To obtain a full set of the dolls, customers need to buy at least six chicken buckets. However, customers will most likely have to buy more, as there's a one in 72 chance of obtaining the hidden model.

The promotion has been wildly popular — Pop Mart said that by last Friday, more than 85% of the toys had been sold across China, with remaining sales delayed in cities affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Related: KFC is Bringing Back a Menu Item That Sold Out in Five Hours During Its Initial Debut

On January 12, the state-affiliated China Consumers Association (CCA) published a statement condemning KFC for the recent promotion, which was designed to celebrate the franchise's 35th year in the country.

In its statement, the CCA said the franchise "used limited-edition blind box sales to induce and condone consumers' irrational and excessive purchase of meal sets, which goes against public order, good customs and the spirit of the law."

The CCA also mentioned that one consumer went as far as buying more than 100 meal sets in an effort to get all of the collectibles, totaling more than 10,500 yuan ($1,651.23).

The Chinese government has increased its focus on food waste since Chinese President Xi Jinping launched the "Clean Plate" campaign in 2020.

Related: He Moved From Pakistan at 18 and Got a Job at KFC. Three Decades Later He Owns a KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and More.