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Mars Pulls Homophobic Snickers Ad After Talks with HRC

Following discussions with the Human Rights Campaign, Mars Inc. has pulled a homophobic Snickers ad in which Mr. T shoots at a swishy jogger with a Gatling gun, ordering him to "run like a real man!" and "Get some nuts!"

PowerwalkerThe ad was recently slammed in an editorial by Ad Age critic Bob Garfield, who called on the agency parent Omnicom to stop with its homophobia.

Like two other spots, one for the Dodge Caliber (created by Omnicom agency BBDO, Detroit) featuring a couple of 'fairies', and the first well-known Snickers Super Bowl ad (created by Omnicom's TBWA, New York) which featured two mechanics who accidentally kiss and then force each other to do something "manly" to rid themselves of the gay, a new Snickers spot features the same type of effeminate stereotyping and bullying.

Said HRC in a statement: "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...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 organization to ensure this does not happen yet again."

View the spot, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. Obviously Mars, which is owned by a notoriously anti-gay right-wing family, has gotten great publicity by airing virulently anti-gay ads on TV, then pulling the ad after the predictable howl of protests erupt --only then to have their ads live on in ad finitum on the internet.... you know, everyone has to see the ad showing the fag being figuratively gunned down. They've got the formula down pat.

    The HRC would do well to say nothing, and the gay groups would do well to remain still in response to these ads. We've reached the point where companies who have an anti-gay agenda get their hate-filled messages on air all the while knowing that gay and civil libertarian groups will howl... in response Mars pulls the ad after great media attention is given to the ad. GMA and the Today show air the ad as part of "informing Americans" about the "controversy".

    Let Mars spew their hatred --and let it be aired without so much as a whisper of protest-- suddenly Mars will look like the bigots they are, and I think most American people will recoil with disgust at the ads.
    Don't let Mars act the role of the incorrigibly loveable bad boy... they know EXACTLY what they are doing. And once they air the ad... the howl from gay groups makes many straight people snigger --knowing the ad is homophobic, and knowing that it should no longer be aired-- but loving the fact that those "pesky howling homosexuals" got a taste of how some people feel.

    Posted by: Dan Cobb | Jul 25, 2008 9:30:00 AM

  2. "homophobic" snickers ads? Give me a break dude... It is really a stretch to call this ad homophobic. At worst - its anti-nerd. One of the many reasons I've stopped giving to the HRC and GLAAD. Wastes of money.

    Posted by: yoshi | Jul 25, 2008 9:30:22 AM

  3. @Dan

    "anti-gay agenda get their hate-filled messages"

    *rolls eyes* I don't buy the delusional theory that there is a secret room filled with "anti-gay managers" purposely designing ads to attack the "gay agenda" (whatever that is). Assuming this ad is "homophobic" (and that is a stretch) its simply not good business. So - grab a gin and tonic and chill.

    Posted by: yoshi | Jul 25, 2008 9:34:58 AM

  4. YOSHI, tsk tsk... you'll never learn to deal with your obvious self hatred with alcohol. You need professional counseling.

    Posted by: JohnInManhattan | Jul 25, 2008 9:51:53 AM

  5. I just do not see this ad as homophobic. Stupid, yes. Confusing, yes. Bad advertising, without a doubt. Where's the sell? Is this to appeal to the HUUUUUGE speed walkers demographic, to "get some nuts"? Is this supposed to appeal to the LEGIONS of former A-Team fans?

    If it showed the nerdy guy EATING the product and then going into a sprint, then it would at least follow some kind of logic. But here's the real question: who is inspired to go out and eat a Snickers bar after watching this? Anyone?

    Posted by: paulie | Jul 25, 2008 9:55:32 AM

  6. The problem is that homophobia is institutionalized. When something is institutionalized, it is so ingrained in the culture that it often goes unrecognized by even those who claim to be on our side. I have no doubt that homophobia is institutionalized in ad agencies as well as other aspects of American society - eg the music industry, the movie industry etc etc.

    And things have gotten worse in recent years because, under the veil of good-natured bigotry, gays have become fair game again. We're succeeding at the legal level (gay marriage rights etc) but there is a concerted attempt at the cultural level to put us back in our boxes and to mock us. Witness the rise of homophobic rappers and the porn industry, the latter being one of the most gay-hating industries about. If we don't assert ourselves in the cultural mainstream - and I stress the mainstream as opposed to the gay ghetto - we'll be toast.

    Posted by: jason | Jul 25, 2008 10:00:02 AM

  7. Yoshi, they don't need to use the word gay to put on an ad that is clearly homophobic. You're delusional if you don't think that 99% of Americans will see the ad and conclude the speed walker is gay. And I agree with Dan Cobb, the ad absolutely sends the message, through worn out steroetypes, that violence againt gays is OK and it is funny. Check out the posting for the Larry King murder today and think about how many angst ridden teenage boys will see this ad and think its funny and get the message that gay bashing is OK.

    I don't necessarily subscribe to the back room conspiracy theory but I do think HRC should have insisted on getting some sort of commitment from Mars on stopping this shit going forward. I do agree once it's in the public domain, it'll be there forever.

    I encourage everyone to boycott Mars until they prove they can be good corporate citizens. Use the HRC buyers guide and patronize companies that support equality. Speak with your wallets.

    Shame on Omnicom as well. They developed the ads and so they bear as much responsibility as Mars.

    Oh, and Mr. T is a fucking asshole for agreeing to do this.

    Posted by: Ted | Jul 25, 2008 10:04:13 AM

  8. Of course it's Homophobic, sophmoric, and sexist yes SEXIST. Come on what part of "Run like a REAL MAN" are you missing?

    But marketing and advertising should not be exempt from critizing if someone yelled that to --YES---that same obviously effeminate speed walker--along Hudson River Park and then get some nuts...we'd all be up in arms.

    Posted by: MCnNYC | Jul 25, 2008 10:07:27 AM

  9. I'm still not convinced that speed-walker is gay.

    Mr. T on the hand, that's just bad drag.

    Posted by: crispy | Jul 25, 2008 10:08:03 AM

  10. Oh and one more thing. I love the ad's tag line, get some nuts, I can laugh at that in the right context. But the clear implication is that gay men have no nuts. I am so sick of these folks implying there's no difference between a woman and a gay man.

    Now I'm really pissed. I won't even laugh at that pool scene in Caddyshack anymore [that was a snickers, wasn't it?].

    Posted by: Ted | Jul 25, 2008 10:08:24 AM

  11. Beware of subtle homophobia. Subtle homophobia falls under the category of a "good-natured ribbing". The veil is humor, the raison d'etre is hate. The humor hides the hate, basically.

    Moreover, it should be stated that ad agencies mine homophobia. They're not going to come out and say "this power walker is gay and therefore it's fun to shoot things at him". Rather, they're going to telegraph it. Put him in a bright yellow pair of shorts, give him a sissified's a form of sign language.

    Posted by: jason | Jul 25, 2008 10:21:26 AM

  12. LOL@CRISPY "...bad drag"

    Yes, and "she's" too old for it too....evil old gun-toting queen in bad drag: dangerous.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Jul 25, 2008 10:28:56 AM

  13. This is why Larry King is dead.

    Posted by: Maverick69 | Jul 25, 2008 10:33:07 AM

  14. As a kid and as an adult, my favorite candy bar has always been the "Milky Way" bar, made by Mars. Well, anti-gay, homophobic, almost Bi-sexual, or as straight as George W. Bush, I don't give a Damn. That ad stinks! I won't be eating my favorite candy bar anymore. There are other candy companies.

    Posted by: SONNIE | Jul 25, 2008 10:43:41 AM

  15. I really MUST get a new "Holidays Calendar"—I had to find out from Towleroad that this is apparently National Retarded Fags Week. First with all the cretins who defended the Nike "[A Man's Face In Another Man's Crotch] Ain't Right" ad and now Dan imagining that we live in Everything Is Beautiful World where he thinks "most American people will recoil with disgust at the ads." Sure, Dan, that roar we hear is the sound of millions of nongays storming Mars candy factories with torches.

    But if Dan is delusionally naive, Yoshi and Paulie are certifiably brain dead. I'm surprised neither of them didn't write, "You pussies don't get that the ad is not homophobic at all—it's just about gun culture. I'm gay and I own a Gatling gun and have no problems with the ad. It was a big hit at our last National Fag Rifle Association meeting. You gurls who are still dealing with childhood trauma over getting a toy gun for Xmas rather than the Barbie Doll you really wanted should stop projecting your feelings of inadequacy where it doesn't belong. In fact, I've written to Nike and asked them to make a new basketball shoe and call it 'Gatling' as in 'gunning' for a basket."

    Gays—Still Their Own Worst Enemy.

    Posted by: Leland Frances | Jul 25, 2008 11:15:27 AM

  16. I don't care what the uptight queens in here say, I don't see this ad as homophobic, I didn't see the Nike ad as homophobic, yes I think the Snickers ad was retarded but that doesn't mean it was homophobic

    Posted by: Pekemo | Jul 25, 2008 11:25:23 AM

  17. How is this ad homophobic? He is not a "swishy jogger" as you assert. He is a speed walker, which has nothing to do with his sexuality. While it is certainly not a great ad, I find no reason for more gays to be upset. The commercial does not perpetuate any stereotypes about gays, but the overreaction of the HRC certainly will.

    Posted by: Norm | Jul 25, 2008 11:35:04 AM

  18. Leland,
    I see in my calendar that next week is National Ancient Queens With Borderline Personality Disorder Week. I think it's great that you and your better half, Michael Bedwell, posed for the picture.

    Posted by: crispy | Jul 25, 2008 11:35:30 AM

  19. Norm,

    Blind is the one who refuses to see. What do you make of the tag line "get some nuts" in the context of this ad? This was as homophobic as it gets, and when I first saw this I was completely struck by disbelief, it was just way beyond the pale!

    Posted by: Rafael | Jul 25, 2008 12:10:20 PM

  20. This ad says it is FUN to SHOOT FAGS. What part of homophobic do you fools not get?

    Posted by: Strepsi | Jul 25, 2008 12:46:56 PM

  21. TED

    I believe it was a Baby Ruth. It's a way more convincing as a stand in for a turd. :-)

    About this ad, like the Nike campaign, it's homophobic, but this one is a bit more ambiguous than the former. I don't think that the walker is gay, I see men and women performing this type of exercise, and while I think it looks sorta awkward, and well, dumb, I don't associate it with being gay. The point here as in the Nike ad is in the language. And I find it interesting that again, they're using the black man as the aggressor, with stereotypical anger undertones, portraying the symbol of the ultimate heterosexual male.

    Scary sh*t.

    Posted by: banjiboi | Jul 25, 2008 12:50:04 PM

  22. 1. Ted, it was a Baby Ruth in Caddy Shack, not a Snickers, so laugh away.

    2. I really don't understand how anyone can fail to see the homophobia here. I think there was room for disagreement on the Nike ads of a few days ago; I'm struggling with finding a context where this ad isn't homophobic in the extreme.

    Posted by: Dan E | Jul 25, 2008 12:53:00 PM

  23. @STREPSI

    That's even MORE frightening. There you have it, folks.

    Posted by: Banjiboi | Jul 25, 2008 12:53:03 PM

  24. Leland Frances wins. Best post ever.

    Posted by: Alex | Jul 25, 2008 1:06:51 PM

  25. Mucho thanks, Crispy! Once again you've given me the pleasure of pissing you off. Keep 'em coming!

    Posted by: Leland Frances | Jul 25, 2008 1:12:49 PM

  26. 1 2 »

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