Brands: don’t bait hate to get attention

Nobody on the Cadbury board Zoom will be shocked by the response to its recent ad, which received a backlash from some on social media for showing two men kissing with a Creme Egg – and if they were, that would be the most worrying part of this campaign, surely?

I have zero issues with Cadbury, but it should be more acutely aware than most of performance versus action, given its much-debated, often brushed-over past actions with regard to the integrity of its supply chain.

But I take issue with the sexualisation of “others” in society to purposefully tap into our deep-rooted divisions as a nation and create a disproportionate reaction to what would have been, if it featured a guy and girl kissing, a rather mediocre celebration of 50 years of an egg.

I love the effort to show how far things have changed in the space of an egg's lifetime but, as someone who has seen his fair share of bullying and othering, from school to the boardroom, it makes me uncomfortable that we give oxygen to homophobes and racists as part of a story.

The adage that it's always darkest before the dawn is true, so perhaps this is what we have to endure to reach true equality. But it’s hard to appreciate the beauty of an advert and a message when every tweet and comment is about how much my life, and the lives of others in the LGBTQ+ community, still offend people.

We have a duty as marketers to help normalise the marginalised, but that cannot be without hard work – so I am hopeful that behind this campaign are donations, work within the community, and aftercare for the real couple involved.

If not, then they’ve basically turned up to Pride in a 'Straight Pride' T-shirt.

Steve Strickland is co-founder of Talker Tailor Trouble Maker

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