A few days ago Hershey's Canada released this year's version of their "Her for She" campaign, for International Women's day, in partnership with "Girl Up". The spokespeople sharing the spotlight in the campaign are Autumn Peltier, Indigenous Rights and Water Activist; Fae Johnstone, 2SLGBTQIA+ Advocate; Rita Audi, Gender and Education Equality Activist; Naila Moloo, Climate Tech Researcher; and Kélicia Massala founder of Girl Up Québec.
Completely unsurprising, one might even say expected, is that Fae Johnstone has attracted more attention than anyone else. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports "campaign sparks transphobic vitriol on Twitter", Time says that Hershey Faces Boycott Calls Over Trans Woman in International Women’s Day Campaign, and Bloomberg says that "Hershey Stands By Its Campaign Featuring Trans-Rights Activist". All completely predictable reactions that are drowning out the causes this limited-edition chocolate bar was meant to highlight.
As the Hashtag #BoyCottHersheys trended on Twitter in the USA and Canada, Egale Canada put out a statement stating that they're "disgusted by the transphobic response to what should be a celebrated campaign."
Well, at least the campaign was noticed, right? And the majority who did notice were women. Who buys chocolate more than any other group? Yes, that's right, women. Oh, wait - that can't be good for Hershey's. Going out of their way to obviously offend their target market seems like a strategy even the daftest strategist would have enough sense to avoid.
With this much press generated about the blowback, we find that DailyWire has joined in. But not by just writing an article reporting on the happening, oh no that won't do. Instead they upped the ante, like when they launched their own razor brand in response to Harry's boycotting them, so we now have a new chocolate brand in town. Jeremy's chocolate, available at "IHateHersheys.com", natch.
There you will find "Jeremy's Chocolate Binary" - with HeHim and SheHer bars. One has nuts. Guess which one. Chuckle chuckle, nudge nudge, say no more.
In the ad announcing their new binary bars, Brett Cooper and Michael Knowles flank Jeremy like sidekicks, as Jeremy delivers the spiel while wearing Gucci.
As funny as I'm sure the target market of this probably thinks this is, I ponder if DailyWire is becoming the conservative version of Spencers gifts, where every product is a gag and knee-jerk reaction to events in the news. They've chosen to use the same terminology as the movement they're protesting, and I'm sure Sun Tzu had some wise words about not using the opponent's tactics or language. I realize this is in jest, and mocking, but I question if preaching to the converted will fill their pews. Thousands of women were rightly upset when they saw Fae included in this, and making a joke candy bar won't bring their eyeballs (and subscriptions) to the company that let Matt Walsh disparage the women who began a movement long before he decided to declare himself king of it.
As a way to grab the headlines in conservative news outlets, on social media, and on TV shows like Tucker Carlson I am certain it will be highly effective, however. People love sharing jokes on social media, and when an actual product has been made instead of it just being a photoshopped meme, it's even funnier. If your goal is to keep fanning the flames of the culture war and divide, have at it. But I do suspect all those people talking about "going off-grid" these days are doing so because this ever-increasing memetic arms race is really tiring.
Sometimes you just want to buy a bar of chocolate that has nothing but chocolate on its agenda.
As an aside, I would never buy Hershey's. It tastes rancid, as Hershey's purposefully puts their chocolate through controlled lipolysis. Bring me some proper Swiss or Belgian chocolate any day instead, thanks.