Mars Inc, one of the world’s largest snackfood companies, has pulled another Snickers bar television commercial in the US – almost a year and a half after it flighted a previous homophobic ad.
The Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRC), dubbed the US’s largest gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender civil rights organisation, made the announcement after discussion with the company.
The ad features a man whose appearance and actions – speed walking in an exaggerated manner – conjure up stereotypes of gay men. The man is then ridiculed by television actor Mr T who appears shooting Snickers bars out of a gun and admonishing the jogger to be a “real man.” It concludes with the line, “Snickers – get some nuts!”
“Following conversations between the Human Rights Campaign and senior Mars representatives, the company has agreed to pull its most recent ad using stereotypes of gay men to sell its Snickers product line. HRC applauds Mars for taking swift and appropriate action,” said HRC Director Daryl Herrschaft.
In 2007, another distasteful Snickers advertisement was aired during the American Super Bowl broadcast. It featured two men who accidentally engaged in a kiss. The men were seen eating from opposite ends of a Snickers bar and, after their mouths touched, ripped out their chest hair in a desperate attempt to “do something manly.”
Three alternate endings to the commercial spot were posted on the Snickers website, one of which included the two men violently attacking one another in disgust.
The company subsequently pulled the ads. The HRC said that after that incident it began a constructive dialogue with Mars on workplace inclusion for GLBT employees.
“We were of course surprised to see the company return to the same practice it had just recently rejected,” said the foundation.
“These kinds of ads perpetuate the notion that the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community is a group of second class citizens and that violence against GLBT people is not only acceptable, but humorous. We are hopeful that Mars will make the necessary changes in their organisation to ensure this does not happen yet again,” it added.