Thursday, February 08, 2007


An advert for Snickers has been pulled off the air in America after it was branded homophobic.

The ad, which had its first screening during Super Bowl XLI on Sunday, featured two mechanics nibbling at a Snickers bar from both ends. After the bar is eaten and their mouths touch, the men feel the need to - as one of the actors said - "do something manly" - by ripping out their chest hair.

An accompanying website, which featured NFL players laughing at the two men kissing and gave viewers the option to have one of the men beat the other with a wrench after the kiss, has also been taken offline.

Masterfoods, the parent company of Snickers manufacturer Mars Inc., has issued a statement saying that no offence was intended but stopped short of issuing an apology.

"As with all of our Snickers advertising, our goal was to capture the attention of our core Snickers consumer, primarily 18-to-24-year-old adult males," Masterfoods spokesperson Alice Nathanson told the New York Times. "Feedback from our target consumers has been positive, and many media and Web site commentators on this year's Super Bowl lineup ranked the commercial among this year's best. We know that humor is highly subjective and we understand that some consumers have found the commercial offensive. Clearly that was not our intent. We do not plan to continue the ad on television or on our Web site."

The response was heavily criticised by gay rights organisations.

"The makers of Snickers and its parent company at Mars should know better," said Human Rights Campaign president Joe Solmonese. "If they have any questions about why the ad isn't funny, we can help put them in touch with any number of GLBT Americans who have suffered hate crimes. This type of jeering from professional sports figures at the sight of two men kissing fuels the kind of anti-gay bullying that haunts countless gay and lesbian school children on playgrounds all across the country. Eighty-four percent of GLBT students report being verbally harassed at school, and this type of ad only reinforces that."

Referring to an incident in which Grey's Anatomy actor Isaiah Washington apparently referred to gay co-star T.R. Knight as a "faggot," Solmonese continued:

'Is Snickers suggesting that people who eat their candy bars are cavemen? It's an odd market to court, particularly after the Isaiah Washington flap a couple weeks ago, which clearly showed that there's a strong distaste out there for people who portray themselves as anti-gay or holding on to old prejudices and stereotypes."

This story reminded me of something which made me smile. When I was 17 I advertised for gay penpals in Record Mirror (anyone remember Record Mirror?) Anyway, I got this penpal who told me all about things like rimming and poppers which I'd never heard of before. He also liked to write to me about how he'd often stick a Snickers (formerly Marathon) bar up his own bottom and fuck himself with it I could never work out if he was telling the truth - I mean, it must have been very messy.

But that's a very manly use for Snickers. Maybe I should suggest it for their next advertising campaign.


Old Cheeser said...

That(the advert that is) is absolutely appalling and I'm really glad to hear it's been pulled off the air. Like the Human Rights campaigner says that kind of representation just helps to fuel and encourage homophobic attitudes even more. Don't get me wrong, I actually laugh at some gay jokes myself and there's something to be said for taking the p*ss out of oneself....but this is taking things too far and more to the point is a very dangerous image to portray. It just adds weight to the whole "it's okay to hate/beat up gays" ethos.

There is a real paranoia culture amongst some straight men I think. When are people going to grow up and stop exhibiting these nenderthal attitudes?

Lost Boy said...

There was a similar one in the UK where two guys were 'accidentally on purpose' caught kissing by their girlfriends to avoid washing up/ get to watch what they wanted on TV/ do something or other. After the kiss, they sprung apart as if they'd just been poisoned. It was disheartening but unfortunately no different from the attitude of the man on the street when it comes to a gay kiss. The most disturbing thing about this Snickers ad is the message that violence is somehow manly.

mike said...

What a vile sounding marketing campaign.

Moving on: I also advertised in Record Mirror for gay penpals. This would have been in 1984. Snickers Man wasn't from the Wirrall, was he?

matty said...

How horrible. I didn't even hear about it. ...but I seem to be encased in a new job and I notice nothing else around me. I didn't even fully realize that the superbowl thing had already happened.

Disgusting and disturbing ad.

camper said...

I think the commercial is hilarious. The 'manly violence' is making fun of the straight guys who have to compensate for their gay act hitting each other. If the commercial showed them reacting by 'now let's go beat up homos' or yelling at their girlfriends, that would be different. I think much of the problem was not with the commercial itself but of the accompanying website videos of football players reacting to the kiss with pukey-faces- that's where it seemed to cross the line from funny commercial to real-world semi-hostility. But they took everything down instead. Too PC, IMHO.