Anybody who has even touched Facebook this week will be aware of the controversy a single cookie can make.
Kraft's Oreo brand chose to make a simple statement, in this visual social era, to show support for June 25th as Gay Pride Day with a rainbow-colored twist on its iconic cookie. The 100-year-old cookie brand posted a photo on its Facebook page on Monday depicting a gay pride-themed six-layer cookie with rainbow-colored creme filling and the words “June 25 | Pride” and the comment, “Proudly support love!”
It was also clear it wasn't real, with a small line of text reading "Made with creme colors that do not exist."
The maelstrom of divided comments from its 26 million FB followers shows the deep division over the issue and the entrenched homophobia still alive (and unwell) — and also raises the question about whether brands should take a political stance and show their support for the LGBT community. (We say yes; your thoughts?)
AT&T, for instance, released the following video to show its support for June as Gay Pride month — not to mention its employees and customers:
AT&T's description for its video shows that supporting the LGBT community is a core part of the brand's corporate citizenship mission:
Learn about AT&T's commitment to the LGBT community. AT&T was the first major corporation to adopt a policy prohibiting discrimination against employees based on sexual orientation. AT&T has also donated millions of dollars to support LGBT causes. This video also highlights LEAGUE at AT&T, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Allies employees of AT&T, the oldest LGBT employee resource group (ERG) organization in the nation. Learn more about AT&T's diverse workforce at http://www.att.com/csr
The video has generated only 20 comments on YouTube, including:
In contrast, as of a few minutes ago, Oreo's pride cookie picture on Facebook had garnered 36,011 comments, 66,845 Shares and 219,643 Likes on the Facebook page, with the comments still coming fast and furious.
• Alejandro Philip: I'd appreciate if all you conservative rednecks boycotted Oreo's, being that white chrisitian fundamentalist are the largest demographic of family-wide obseity.
• Alex Symon: I wish that oreo existed - I'd eat it! And to all you anti-gay bigots out there, if you want to boycott Oreos, boycott facebook and google too, as they openly support gay rights!
• Jack Son: Can't be too surprised ate their perversity on this, considering their lack of morality in general: http://www.patranella.org/blog/aborted-fetal-tissue-used-to-test-new-food-additives-pepsi-kraft-and-nestle-complicit/
Earlier comments included threats of boycotts such as Steve Permar, whose interests include "Sarah Palin" and "I Love Jesus" posting: "Guess I won't be buying oreo's [sic] anymore."
Oreo is manufactured by Kraft and one user expanded any Oreo boycott to other Kraft brands:
June is officially LGBT Pride month in the U.S., declared first by President Clinton in 2000, and revived by President Obama in 2009 as he called on Americans to “help fight prejudice and discrimination” everywhere. So what's Kraft's take on the Facebook furor?
Basil Maglaris, Kraft's associate director of corporate affairs, told the Chicago Tribune that the positive comments on Facebook have "far outnumbered" negative ones. "As a company, Kraft Foods has a proud history of celebrating diversity and inclusiveness. We feel the Oreo ad is a fun reflection of our values."
Adweek calls Oreo as one of the most successful brands on Facebook, with close to 26 million fans. “While there’s likely to be plenty of fallout for Oreo over this simple photo post, at least the brand has shown it’s not afraid to tackle a thornier issue than “Do you ever think of Oreo cookies when drinking milk?”
While the little rainbow cookie isn't available, maybe it should be as a limited-edition cookie this time of year. As Facebooker Aldrin Fauni-Tanos commented: "Whether this is a marketing strategy or a genuine call for equality, I'm buying these Oreos if they ever 'come out' in stores. YAY OREO!!!"