A South African created ad campaign for Flora margarine is causing controversy around the world over claims that it’s homophobic.
The advert depicts a ‘heart’ made of ceramic china over a pink background. A bullet with the words “Uhh, Dad I’m gay” is shown heading for the heart.
The ad, presumably punting the benefits of Flora margarine when it comes to heart disease, states: “You need a strong heart today.”
While some argue that it’s humorous and tongue in cheek, others see the ad as equating coming out with something that could cause a heart attack or to being shot in the heart.
The controversial campaign has caused a firestorm and has been highlighted in the international media, including the UK’s Daily Mail, and has been slammed on Twitter and other social networks.
One woman tweeted: “I will never ever buy Flora again after seeing the ad equating being gay with a bullet to the heart. I am so angry right now.”
A man commented: “You know you’re bigoted when: you manage to sneak #homophobia into a margarine ad. #flora”.
The ad was created by the Johannesburg branch of Lowe + Partners and has apparently been published in South Africa.
Christina Engela from SA GLAAD told Mambaonline that the advert is “an insensitive take on a sensitive issue”.
She said: “Reducing a complex issue like coming out to your parents to a literal heart-breaking emotional trauma and comparing that to heart-disease or even a heart-attack, is really saying being gay is shocking and really creates a negative and judgmental image of a gay person coming out.”
Engela further commented that linking coming out with a bullet was particularly inappropriate in South Africa, where anti-gay hate crimes are common.
“I find the revelation disturbing that this item was created and marketed by a South African ad agency – which should be aware of the kind of message they are sending out.
“I have no idea what kind of message they (or the client, being Flora) were hoping to send, but if it wasn’t meant to offend, they failed in their task,” she added.
Mambaonline attempted to contact Lowe + Partners but was unable to get a comment from representatives who were either busy on the phone, in meetings or out of the office.
What do you think? Is the Flora advert homophobic or witty?