Candy brand Snickers has issued an apology following a new ad in Spain understandably perceived as homophobic.
Yahoo News reports that while Snickers has pulled the ad from broadcast, it continues to circulate on social media. The commercial in question shows an effeminate man (played by Spanish blogger Aless Gibaja) at the beach with a friend and ordering “sexy orange juice with vitamins A, B, and C.” The waiter and the friend exchange disgusted, confused looks, before the waiter presents the femme man with a Snickers ice cream bar. The femme man takes one bite and magically transforms into a more masculine, bearded, handsome man.
“Better?” the friend asks.
“Better,” the butch man replies.
The crude humor of the ad attracted critics both in Spain and abroad, many of whom took to social media to express their outrage.
Es vergonzoso y lamentable que a estas alturas haya empresas que sigan perpetuando estereotipos y promoviendo la #homofobia y la #plumofobia. Si necesitáis algo de formación para la próxima vez, aquí estamos, #Snickers.
— Federación Estatal LGTB (@FELGTB) August 5, 2021
“It is shameful and regrettable that at this point there are companies that continue to perpetuate stereotypes and promote homophobia,” Spain’s LGBT State Federation declared in a Twitter statement. “If you need some training for next time, here we are, Snickers.”
— Jaume d'Urgell (@JaumedUrgell) August 5, 2021
Human rights activist Jaume d’Urgell delivered a more concise rebuke, posting an image of a Snickers bar with the word “homofobia” replacing the brand logo.
Me pregunto a quién le puede parecer una buena idea usar la homofobia como estrategia comercial.
Nuestra sociedad es diversa y tolerante. Ojalá aprendan a serlo también quienes tienen el poder para tomar las decisiones sobre lo que vemos y oímos en anuncios y programas de TV.
— Irene Montero (@IreneMontero) August 5, 2021
“I wonder who would think it is a good idea to use homophobia as a business strategy,” noted Spanish Minister of Equality Irene Montero. “Our society is diverse and tolerant. Hopefully those who have the power to decide what we see and hear in advertisements and TV programmes will learn to be as well.”
As previously mentioned, Snickers has since pulled the ad from broadcast. The brand also took to Twitter to apologize for the ad.
“In this particular campaign we wanted to convey in a friendly and lighthearted way that hunger can change your character,” the statement read in part. “At no time was it intended to stigmatize or offend any person or collective.”
The scandal over the ad follows several high-profile hate crimes against gay men in Spain over the past few months. Earlier this year, protests erupted across the nation following the killing of nursing student Samuel Luiz Muñiz. Last month, a tourist in Barcelona suffered a smashed jaw in a brutal attack.