Suddenly, all ads are banned for homophobia? First Heinz, then Snickers - now Nike.

Stockholm is currently party-town with Stockholm Pride festival in full swing. Sweden's Channel five are tagging along by showing pride-related films like Transamerica, and TV shows like "Rick and Steve: The Happiest Gay Couple in All the World". Absolut Vodka have released a rainbow-coloured bottle which is prominently displayed in the Swedish state-operated liquor stores - but that isn't due to the Pride party in Stockholm, instead, the rainbow bottle is to celebrate that it is 30 years ago that Gilbert Baker of San Francisco designed a flag with six stripes representing the six colours of the rainbow as a symbol of gay and lesbian community pride.

Meanwhile, lots of ads are being pulled due to homophobia or offending homosexual people.
First there was that Heinz "New York deli mom" ad kiss. Or rather - peck. Mom of the house - as always making lunch bags for the kids and the hubby in the kitchen where else would mom be? - has been replaced by a stereotypical Noo Yawka deli man. When Dad is about to rush off to work without kissing the missus, Noo Yawka Deliman says "hey, aren't you forgetting something?" and there is the kiss. 200 people missed the joke and reported the "gay kiss" as offensive and "inappropriate to see two men kissing". Heinz withdrew the ad and apologised to viewers.

Then there's the recent Snickers "Mr T" attack on speed walkers. This ad was pulled for being offensive to Gay people and that part just kills me. I don't know a single gay speed walker. Better yet, it is people in the US complaining about an ad in the UK. Having lived in both the US and the UK I know this thing for certain - they might both speak English but they don't really speak the same language. Once at the D&AD awards I found myself the only one laughing at both the UK nominated adverts and the US commercials - a tad embarrassing as the UK ads were shown first and I had adjusted my laugh-level to fit a room full of giggles. At the first US ad, my chuckle-snort-heehee-SNORT geek laugh cut through the silent room like a knife. I could have died. Snickers is a worldwide brand, and doesn't want to offend anyone on the planet who might buy a candy-bar so the US office told the UK office to pull the ad.

Now Nike is in trouble - pulls ads for its Hyperdunk basketball shoes, amid criticism that the ads were homophobic. - their latest campaign shows the phenomena that some slam-dunking can bring a players crotch into the face-space of another player. To this they added the headlines "That ain't right", "Isn’t that cute", and "Punks jump up." Now, anyone can suss that the "That ain't right" one can be read as anti-gay - even though it may just mean that people really don't want to be teabagged when they're playing basketball - it's the "Punks jump up" that jumps out as anti-gay to me. Way back in the early nineties, there was a band called Brand Nubian who did a song with that title which got them into some trouble back then since the lyrics are quite homophobic. Nike has pulled the ads and issued this apology;

Nike is strongly opposed to discrimination of any kind and has a long history of supporting athletes regardless of their sexual orientation. The advertisement in question is based purely upon a common insight from within the game of basketball - the athletic feat of dunking on the opposition, and is not intended to be offensive. However, after listening to concerns expressed around specific executions, we have decided to drop them from the campaign to underline our ongoing commitment to supporting diversity in sport and the workplace. Nike has a strong record of support for diversity and is proud to have been honored with a 100 percent score over several consecutive years in the Human Rights Campaign Foundation's Corporate Equality Index.

Still quite a few people don't find it offensive at all - says Nike ain't so wrong

Personally, I don’t find it homophobic, homoerotic, pro-gay or anti-gay. It’s an aspect of sports of THE most embarrassing type, not because of the crotch in the face but because of the dunk. There are few, if any, plays in all of sports that are more definitive than a slam dunk. A “Pick 6” in football comes close, but I’d still put a big dunk over it as far as humiliating moments in sports are concerned.

It's hot, and my brain is melting - so let's get back to that Rainbow coloured Vodka, shall we? Ten-odd years ago a very popular drink in the Gay Community in Stockholm (I have no idea if it was as popular with straight people as I had no straight friends at the time, seriously) was Vodka and cucumbers. This drink is refreshing and overdue for a revival - so grab your Absolut and your cheese slicer (or a really sharp knife) and do this; Fill a tumbler glass with semi-crushed ice. Not shaven ice, just smaller chunks than big cubes. Drop lots of thin round slices of cucumber in there, and stir, so that you now have a glass of ice and cucumber. Pour ca 8 ml (or rather, two jiggers) of Absolut over this, stir once, serve. Toast me and enjoy. I forget what it is called but it's really quite nice.

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alex's picture

I presume if you showed a bottle of Absolut with a cucumber in it and the headline was 'Absolutely Gay' that would get banned too?

Anyway, there's seven colours in the rainbow I believe.

purplesimon's picture

Nope, it's definitely 6: here's the link

alex's picture

Yes, but a rainbow has seven. I suppose they couldn't use the seven colours of the rainbow because it would have been the same as the flag of the Jewish Autonomous Oblast. Apparently the Pride flag originally had eight colours, but pink and turquoise were taken off. Damn right: pink and turqouise together is just an unthinkable, horrendous nightmare.

purplesimon's picture

Ah-ha, missed your original point.

And yes, pink and turquoise just doesn't do anything for anyone.

I did think, just looking at the image, the stripes of colour were a reference to the colours of puke you'd get if you drank the whole bottle or just some of it :)

Dabitch's picture

That's because we've seen rainbow puke so often in Adland, or rather, Badland.... ;P

TDD's picture

A rainbow bottle is offensive to those who are colour blind.

NoCloset's picture

Personally I love that bottle and had to buy two of them, even though I seldom drink vodka.