Tea firm Typhoo consulted the Commision for Racial Equality before
scrapping its Two Thumbs Fresh ad campaign, it emerged this week.
The news comes just a week after jam company Robertson's announced it
was to scrap its long-serving cartoon character Golly the golliwog
following years of pressure from anti-racism campaigners.
While the passing of Golly represents a victory for critics of the
controversial emblem, campaigners are taking it as their cue to focus on
other corporate identities they consider unsuitable.
While spokespeople for Robertson's refused to add to news that the
company is to ditch its long-time mascot, a CRE spokesperson confirmed
it had been consulted over the decision to remove the character from
jars, and conceded that 'other companies have approached us with
concerns along similar lines'.
The body would not disclose either the names or the number of firms to
have sought its guidance, but many such consumer goods firms are thought
to have faced similar problems in recent years.
Specifically, earlier this year Typhoo abandoned its Two Thumbs Fresh
campaign, which was roundly criticised for its representation of Indian
plantation workers, and even sparked condemnation from the Broadcasting
The company's group marketing director Ivor Harrison admitted the firm
was aware of the criticism and that the CRE had been consulted, but
insisted the discontinuation of the campaign, which had been checked by
the Advertising Standards Authority, was unrelated to the concerns.
Robertson's removal of the 91-year-old Golly motif - to be replaced by
Quentin Blake's drawings of characters from Roald Dahl's children's
books - and abandonment of the line of collectable Golly badges have
been planned for some time.
The CRE this week claimed to have been consulted 'on more than one
occasion during the past four or five years'.
The National Assembly against Racism's spokesman Dennis Fernando drew a
distinction between stereotyping cultures in promotions and what he
perceives as overtly offensive objects: 'The golliwog was offensive as
it is a term racists use in abuse - there's a link between the character
and the rhetoric of the far right. You have to ask: "What market does it
appeal to?," as it certainly isn't the ethnic minority market.'