Bil Browning

I will never buy a Snickers bar again

Filed By Bil Browning | July 22, 2008 1:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Media
Tags: anti-gay violence, bad advertising, bad taste, boycott Snickers, hate crimes against LGBT people, homophobic behavior, shooting gay people, Snickers, Snickers commercial

Snicker's Super Bowl ad with the two mechanics sharing a kiss and then beating the hell out of each other was enough to diminish my enjoyment of the popular candy bar. This latest ad though, has thoroughly convinced me to never buy another Snickers again.


iPhone users: Click to watch

Joe.My.God. picked up an excellent open letter to the advertising agency in charge of both spots, but I'd like to throw in my own message to the candy maker: Get some nuts, apologize, and make one hell of a large donation to the Matthew Shepard Foundation. Shooting at gay people isn't funny - it's a hate crime.


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Why do you think this guy is gay? I am a gay man and he does not represent me. People need to lighten up a bit. When someone does something hateful it is an issue, but when people complain about every possible ad or issue, rather than focusing on the big concerns, it creates the "boy crying wolf" reaction. What we need is a fair and balanced portrayal of all people in the media. I just don't see why someone would say, this is a hate crime or this guy is gay.

Cathy Renna Cathy Renna | July 22, 2008 2:56 PM

this is worse than the other one in some ways - and Mr. T? this ad isn't only offensive, it jumped the shark years ago...

So we "assume" the man speed walking is gay just because he is twitching his butt from side to side when he walks? Give me a break!

If this had been aimed at Nancy Pelsoi (impeachment is off the table) or any of the Democratic "leadership" I might have found it funny.......

It's just plain offensive and made possible only because being a bigot isn't something to be ashamed of after eight years of the repugs. Did Michael Bailey join some ad company?

Rod, Gregg, as someone who came here originally from completely outside the GLB world, let me assure you this ad was deliberately invoking every single possible gay stereotype of the past possible held by the straight world. Clothing included.

Don't fool yourself just because you know they aren't true.

While I've never met a gay man who actually filled this stereotype, I agree with the original poster that this is indeed meant to depict a gay man. And I'm rather shocked. I didn't imagine this would get past...well surely someone reviews their commercials and it's not Fred Phelps, is it?

If Mr. T just handed him the bar and said "Get some nuts" boy, it'd be a little disturbing, but not as bad as the shooting....

The most interesting part of this story isn't the level of homophobia in the ads but rather the comments left by readers on the story written in Ad Age. Take a look at the lengthy list of responses the editor gets.

I find it interesting the degree of anger you wil find in the people's comments who disagree with the Ad Age editor. A lot of assimilationalist "get over it" attitude but it always makes me think deeper as to why they get THAT upset about it.....

This ad is one step away from a car full of homophobes throwing a beer bottle at someone then laughing as they watch the target either flinch or fall. Also, note to Rod: this ad specifically addresses masculinity or the perceived lack thereof (THAT MEANS GAY): "Get some nuts"...Mr. T....large vehicle smashing landscaping...guns firing...what part of "homo suffers=funny" can you not see in this ad?

I am a candy-bar loving bear, not very "swishy" but nonetheless highly offended. This is a subtle dig on my family! Grr.

*sigh* Um, anyone know the difference between gender identity and expression, and sexual orientation? What's really sad is that neither you, Joe My God, or Michelangelo Signorelli or anyone else on this post have gotten to the root of the attack. This has more to do with sexism and solidifying the gender binary than it does who the guy was having sex with.

I've no great insights, but to me the ad revolves around the cultural stereotype of effeminate = less than male = homosexual. Doesn't the issue of gender expression overlap with sexual identity?

The ad makes light of violence toward persons who are culturally looked down upon. Its a reprehensible ad.

I've no great insights, but to me the ad revolves around the cultural stereotype of effeminate = less than male = homosexual. Doesn't the issue of gender expression overlap with sexual identity?

The ad makes light of violence toward persons who are culturally looked down upon. Its a reprehensible ad.

Good point Marti.
Dale, gender expression doesn't always overlap with sexual orientation. There is nothing in the ad that suggests he is gay. For all we know he has a lovely wife at home with 3 kids and one on the way. His gender expression is leading to assumed or perceived sexual orientation.
The ad says to get some nuts which is suggesting that because the man is effeminate, he is somehow less than a "real" man.
It is a horrible and tasteless commercial that promotes violence aimed at effeminate men.
Thanks for posting this Bill. I'm done with snickers too.

battybattybats battybattybats | July 22, 2008 11:04 PM

What does Mr T say?

The sentence where he specifically mentions male.

Rod? Gregg? Everyone?

That sentence says EXACTLY what this ad is about. There is no escaping or excusing that line.

It clearly IS about gender expression, conforming to gender stereotypes. Yes that includes many gay people (partly because for a long time more of them have had the courage to be non-conformist compared to straight people and partly because general society considers all gay people as gender rule violating).

Homosexual, metrosexual, effeminate men.... this ad is targeted against them all! Specificly. By inevitable clear logical extension it also is directed against the rest of transgender people too. (by the ads logic they would be even greater traitors-to-male than the person depicted in the ad).

It even hurts straight women. Because by perpetuating aggressive forced conformity to male stereotypes it harms society by pushing sexist views of men and that violence and oppression is acceptable male behaviour.

So.. everyone should be outraged by this. It's this kind of message that hurts everyone.

I won't eat another snickers bar until they do a gay-and-trans-friendly ad. I request everyone to do likewis and to ask everyone they know to do likewise. Anyonehave an email address for these people?

And according to the news Mr T is here in Australia promoting snickers and being photographed with sports-stars. Good time for somene to complain to the media?

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | July 22, 2008 11:46 PM

If I could suggest a visit to www.mars.com so you don't avoid buying one thing, that supports the parent company, and buy something else that does.
Like Mars bars, Whiskas cat food, Twix, M & M's, Uncle Ben's Rice products, Pedigree Cat food JUST to name a few.

Very diverse, very global company. Which of you will be first to give up M & M's?

Nathanial | July 23, 2008 2:11 AM

Robert Ganshorn wrote: "If I could suggest a visit to www.mars.com so you don't avoid buying one thing, that supports the parent company, and buy something else that does.
Like Mars bars, Whiskas cat food, Twix, M & M's, Uncle Ben's Rice products, Pedigree Cat food JUST to name a few."

Well, back at the time of the FIRST Snickers commercials, [url=http://americablog.blogspot.com/2007/02/i-just-got-call-from-snickers-parent.html]John, over at AmericaBlog, wrote:[/url]

[quote]Masterfoods, Mars and Snickers parent company (or something), called to let me know that while humor is highly subjective, and their target market for the ads did give them positive feedback (that would be the neanderthal gay-bashing fans of Snickers?), they did not intend to offend anyone and will not be airing any of the four ads ever again, nor will they be airing the commentary from the NFL players responding to the ads. This includes not airing the ads during the Daytona 500, which they had earlier said they planned to do.[/quote]

Masterfoods makes the following stuff: Flavia, Uncle Ben's, Cesar, Pedigree, Sheba, Waltham, Whiskas, Buckeye, 3 Musketeers, Celebrations, Combos, Cookies&, Dove, Ethel-M, Kudos, M&M's, Milky Way, Skittles, Snickers, Starburst, Twix.

battybattybats battybattybats | July 23, 2008 2:36 AM

This is the message I'm sending to them:

Hi.
I just saw one of your Snickers commercials involving Mr T.
It included comments about the manliness of a power-walker.

Those comments, not to mention an act of 'comedic' violence used towards the man in question are clearly and absolutely:

1. anti metrosexual, and therefore discriminatory
2. homophobic and therefore discriminatory
3. transphobic and therefore discriminatory
4. perpetuating the notion that violence against men whose gender expression does not conform to stereotypes is acceptible. That's not just sexist but supports the use of intimidation aggression and violence to ensure men conform to sexist male stereotypes. That attitude contributes to the yearly murders of gender non-conforming people for being gender non-conforming!

I am deeply offended and extremely upset.
Please cease this discriminatory commercial that makes fun out of the violent oppression of gender stereotype non-conforming males!

I buy a lot of Mars products.
I am currently considering not just ceasing to purchase said products but to urge everyone I know not to do so, to urge them to urge everyone they know not to do so, to discuss online in forums and blogs internationally urging everyone my words can reach not to do so as well as complaining to the advertising standards people and urging everyone to do likewise.

Such is how powerfully I feel about this issue and how important I feel it is.

Every year people are murdered for not conforming to gender stereotypes! That isn't funny! That isn't something to use to sell chocolate! Those murdered people bought Mars products too. They ate Snickers bars too.

Please change this aspect of your advertising campain. I'm not suggesting you stop using Mr T in your ads, just stop these discriminatory, villifying, hurtful aspects.

I ask you to in fact speak out publicly against the frequent hate crime murders of gay, transgender and gender stereotype non-conforming people instead of profiteering on the hatred against people whose gender expression doesn't conform to sexist homophobic and transphobic gender stereotypes!

The above discussion demonstrates (yet again) the reason that *all* GLBT people are in the same boat, like it or not. As such, anti-discrimination laws must be inclusive of both gender identity and expression and sexual orientation to provide comprehensive protection. Remember, if we don't stick together, "we shall surely hang separately".

But give up Uncle Ben's Rice, Robert? Oh, the humanity! ;-)

I was hoping Bil was overreacting, because I really like Snickers. Alas, he was not. And I really do need nuts. (g)

Well Rory, I'm kinda partial to mounds.

Another way you can help is to forward this post to as many people as you can - or use the social networking tools above (Digg, Reddit, etc)

Oh my god...is there ANYONE that shouldn't be offended at someone targeting another person like that? Geez, I can't wait to see the "tranny" get dragged through the street in the next commercial (sarcasm).

The only thing that I found funny about this ad is that the power walker looked like my brother who is a bit of a transphobe and homophobe.It sends a very bad message to everyone including heterosexual men.M&M Mars has not only lost my business but I'll also be asking others to boycott them as well.

Oh my god, that's like the most ridiculously homophobic thing I've seen in a while. Something tells me that we're going to see this commercial on one of those DVD's of banned commercials one day, and people will laugh at how stupid people were in 2008.

I saw on MSNBC today that the Snickers ad has been pulled in response to protests from gay rights groups.