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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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    you make an interesting point about Mr T shooting at what appears to be a gay white man. When Andy first presented this story, the poster JASON (an Obama supporter) made the often used argument about black homophobia-- that what if it were reversed, and blacks had been the targets of ridicule in this ad? I criticized him. But later I thought about it and realized that both of us were being silly. Mr T is not the creator/producer of this commercial. If anyone should be criticized it is those forces behind such messages. We were caught up in the imagery: innocent white gay victim vs evil macho black homophobe.

    Somehow for many white gay folks the face of homophobia in America has become black (anti-gay preachers, rappers, reggae performers), while the face of the gay minority has become "white-only". The irony is that black homophobes usually visualize a black gay male when they speak, "I hate faggots...kill faggots". Many cannot even recognize a white gay male unless he is very effeminate or in drag. Let's not forget, this is still a segregated society: for the most part black gay-bashing victims are bashed by black homophobes, and white gay-bashing victims are bashed by white homophobes. But obviously, many white gays do not think of a black gay in danger when they hear the violent words of a black homophobe. They think of themselves.

    I wonder had the speedwalker been black would we have gotten all the reaction that this version of the commercial has generated?

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Jul 25, 2008 1:36:03 PM

  2. Oh, I can assure you I ain't pissed. The dementia-raddled rantings of an 80-year-old queen hardly give me pause. I'm just happy that the staff of Shady Pines lets you surf the internet.

    Posted by: crispy | Jul 25, 2008 1:36:07 PM

  3. Couldn't have said it better than STREPSI and BANJIBOI. I said the same thing over at Rod 2.0 about the alpha(black)male. How people still don't see this as explicit homophobia just escapes me!

    Posted by: Shabaka | Jul 25, 2008 1:45:59 PM


    Y'all both have me in tears!

    @ DERRICK & SHABAKA (Your moniker is reminding of a fierce house jam from the 90's: "Work Shabaka, work Shabaka, work Shabaka, work!":-)

    Yes, I do believe there is much cause for alarm. As I stated on the Nike post, the ads are concentrated in urban neighborhoods, adopting the style of language and phases most known to be used in these areas. I'm not saying that blacks are most prone to homophobia, but in my experience, I do feel that if I'm going to be called a fag, it would most likely be by a black man. I might get into trouble for that, but real talk, I grew up in tough sections of Brooklyn, so I know the drill.

    The black church is so RABIDLY homophobic, it has ingrained a permanent sensibility into its followers that being gay is patently wrong. There are NO gray areas. White churches are just as bad, but I believe that black males in struggling with stigmas their white counterparts don't, feel the extra need for validation, in which they embrace the relief of feeling that "at least I'm not gay", or even perhaps because they feel the constant sting of discrimination, they need perpetuate that same discrimination of gays. That the media is perhaps playing on this strikes me as bizarre or disingenuous, at best.

    Then again, I suppose it's all too complex to delve into here, but that's my opinion on the surface.

    Posted by: banjiboi | Jul 25, 2008 2:52:08 PM

  5. I'm glad I have learned to caveat any facts I quote here if I'm not 100% certain.
    Thanks gents for the clarification. I used my free time to do some research and confirmed that Baby Ruth bars are made by Nestle so as longs as that organization is not also homophobic, nosh away.

    I'm not sure I'd rather have a lumpy Baby Ruth turd than a smoother Snickers one. Going forward I will think of Mars every time I ....

    I hear the next generation of this add will be aimed at Lesbians to promote the Milky Way bar, right?

    Leland, you made me piss myself. Thanks, saved me from having to get up from my computer. But Y does Crispy keep calling you Bedwell? Is it true? I hate inside jokes when I'm on the outside.

    Posted by: Ted | Jul 25, 2008 4:21:38 PM

  6. Oh, I've nearly given up on candy bars. They've stopped using real sugar. They've stopped using real chocolate. They taste awful these days. If I want soybeans, I'll eat tofu. There was glimmer of hope that the ethanol debacle might force candy makers to switch to sugar again, but ADM being the source of all evil in the known universe, that's pie-in-the-sky I suspect.

    Posted by: anon | Jul 25, 2008 5:35:28 PM

  7. Like Leland/Michael and others, I can't fathom explaining this away as just anti-nerd or anti-speedwalker!

    "disgrace to the man race"
    "be a real man"
    "get some nuts"

    and look at how he bats off those bars shot at him -- just as I would, and I assure you, It would look faggy if I did it, too.

    The race part is interesting. For some reason I was reminded of an old photo of Nancy Reagan on Mr. T's lap:
    Marjorie Garber includes it somehow in her discussion of race and transvestism (I think both Nancy and Mr. T are in drag here...), but for the life of me I can't remember the whole argument.

    Posted by: Kevinvt | Jul 25, 2008 6:44:15 PM


    this as was not homophobic, the previous one was definately homophobic, this one NO

    Posted by: johnosahon | Jul 25, 2008 8:12:04 PM

  9. for what it's worth, here's the opinion of a
    21 year old Advertising Major:

    the NIKE ads-
    it is evident the ads are homophobic.
    this is my assumption/impression of the advertisers' mindset:
    "how do we sell these new shoes?"
    "let's show how great they are- how high they can make you jump!"
    "but instead of emphasizing the positive aspect of having the shoe,
    let's show how much it sucks NOT to have the shoe."
    "we'll show people how horrible it is if you don't wear this shoe"

    ..these people thought they were being creative,
    and yet they ended up producing homophobic ads that clearly portray the message:
    "buy these shoes or you'll end up with a man's crotch in your face, WHICH IS BAD!"
    and whoever wrote the headline "that ain't right" is hopefully being sued by now.. by someone..
    (seeing as that's the most offensive line in the campaign).

    the SNICKERS ads-
    i'm not even going to argue that one,
    because everyone has already pointed out the NUMEROUS reasons why it is obviously homophobic.
    anyone trying to defend the commercial as acceptable,
    either has failed to understand the points everyone else has made,
    is arguing just for argument's sake,
    or has issues with their own sexuality and what it means to be gay.


    I will say this however,
    I can appreciate the fact that although these ads are offensive,
    they are at least forcing people to embrace homosexuality
    into their tv's and into their lives.
    yes, the ads are making fun of being gay,
    but i'm slightly happy at the fact that millions of people
    watching the superbowl last year
    were forced to see to grown men kiss.
    obviously i'm not pleased at how
    the men in the commercial reacted to the kiss,
    but still-
    the more people see two men kiss,
    the more they'll get used to it.
    DESENSITIZING is the word of the day.
    but i much prefer the method of seeing gay couples getting married all over the news,
    than a random candy bar making fun of gay guys in a commerial...

    on a similar note, (kind of)-
    who thinks it's ok for gay people to use say F__
    the way whoopie thinks it's ok for black people to say N_____.
    I love whoopi but i must disagree with her,
    I don't like either of those words, no matter who's saying them
    or what context they're in..
    don't even get me started on that stupid fruit of the loom campaign from a while back... (which used both those words).

    Posted by: Jesse | Jul 25, 2008 9:13:17 PM

  10. "the more people see two men kiss,
    the more they'll get used to it.
    DESENSITIZING is the word of the day."

    Uh, Jesse, appreciate you're seeing the exploitation of homophobia in the ads, but, uh, NO!

    The word of the day is "context." The ILlogical extension of what you're saying is that coverage of lynchings helped racist whites who were never around blacks "get used to [them]."

    Posted by: Leland Frances | Jul 25, 2008 9:38:24 PM

  11. I see your point Leland.. response to your comparison of my argument
    to racists watching black people being lynched,
    that was a little harsh..
    I was referring to all different types of people seeing the ads,
    not just homophobic idiots.
    i know people who are accepting of homosexuality and gay marriage,
    but are still uncomfortable seeing two men kiss,
    because they've never been around it,
    or it's how they were raised, etc.
    i don't think this makes them homophobic,
    i think they just need to be exposed to it more,
    in order to be more accepting.
    (..although that is starting to change these days with people coming out at younger ages...)
    you're right, it is exploitation..i didn't look at it that way b4.
    i suppose i was just trying to make a positive out of a negative..
    my boyfriend and i hold hands in public every chance we get,
    sometimes intimidated by our surroundings,
    but we gotta do what we gotta do,
    in order for homosexuality to be considered 'normal.'

    all i was saying, was that i was pleased people were forced to watch two men kiss.
    the fact that a gay kiss was aired during the superbowl is small step for us,
    but a step none the less...
    even if the kiss was afterwards made fun of.
    it's a stretch, i know,
    but like i said,
    just an attempt to make a positive out of a negative i guess,
    please don't bite my head off.

    Posted by: Jesse | Jul 25, 2008 10:13:39 PM

  12. The fact that anyone is arguing that there's no anti-gay subtext here (or in the songs of Katy Perry, or in the now infamous Nike ad) just shows that many gay men will refuse to acknowledge any expression of homophobia that isn't as explicit as actually hitting a gay man in the head with a crowbar.

    Posted by: I Heart Ryan Reynolds | Jul 25, 2008 11:20:35 PM

  13. Jesse you need to choose your words carefully here or risk getting bitch-slapped. Been there, gotten that.

    I see your point that the more straight people see gay people kissing, the more they will get used to it. I agree. This ad didn't do anything for us. And the superbowl ad was not two gay men kissing. It was two men who were repulsed by what they did. Advertising is not yet ready to help our cause, it seems to me.

    Posted by: Ted | Jul 26, 2008 12:12:51 AM

  14. "HRC applauds Mars for taking swift and appropriate action..." WTF? HRC is crap. They applaud Mars for removing something that should not have been made to begin with. And it just makes my blood boil when ever they include 'transgender' in their fight for rights. They're just a bunch of kowtowing rich white folk who would still be in their fake marriages cruising the parks at 1 am if it weren't for the drag queens and trannies.

    Posted by: Erik | Jul 26, 2008 1:47:51 PM

  15. fuck mars, inc.

    Posted by: David T | Jul 27, 2008 8:33:27 PM

  16. I am a gay white male.

    I find the ad absolutely hilarious.

    So do most of my (gay white male) friends.

    Seriously, people, lighten up!

    Posted by: arty | Jul 29, 2008 3:57:08 AM

  17. i think its great.. fun and so savvy.. as i gay man i can find it funny and chic at the same time.. one must always find the humor in everything.. its just funny.. gosh, give it a rest..

    Posted by: josh | Aug 4, 2008 4:07:49 PM

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