SNICKERS has found itself in a sticky situation after an advert for its ice-cream was branded homophobic.
The prime-time ad starred Aless Gibaja, a flamboyant social media influencer who camps it up when he orders a “sexy orange juice” at a beach bar and winks at the quizzical waiter as an embarrassed friend looks on.
Instead he is handed a Snickers ice-cream bar, and after one mouthful is transformed into a deep voiced macho man with a beard.
“Better?” the friend asks. ‘Better,’ the bearded man replies as the campaign slogan appears on screen: “You’re not yourself when you’re hungry.”
This did not go down well with the LGBT State Federation. It tweeted: “It is shameful and regrettable that at this point there are companies that continue to perpetuate stereotypes and promote homophobia. If you need some training for next time, here we are.”
Irene Montero, Spain’s Equality Minister, tweeted: “I wonder who would think it is a good idea to use homophobia as a business strategy.”
“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.”
One commentator asked whether it was in fact an advert for conversion therapy rather than an ice-cream.
The row culminated in the chocolate brand pulling the advert and apologising.
“At no time has it been intended to stigmatise or offend any person or group. In this specific campaign, the aim was to convey in a friendly and casual way that hunger can change your character.”
It comes just weeks after a man was killed in a homophobic attack outside a nightclub in A Coruña prompting street protests across Spain.
It follows another ill-thought out campaign in Spain which involved the Post Office issuing postage stamps representing skin colour with decreasing values as the shade darkened.