So here it is - either an opportunity for the usual suspects to make comments like: "What is this country coming to?", "This is PC gone mad!", or even "The country is being run by lunatics! * OR * will there be more reflective posts, discussing the issues this raises in a fair and balanced way? Indeed, how many will try to see things from both sides of the argument instead of taking the lazy route and confidently asserting their prejudices? Time will tell. I'm staying out of this one and just watching.
Mr T Snickers ad pulled for being offensive to gay people
* Mark Sweney, guardian.co.uk, Monday July 28 2008
Mars has pulled a UK TV ad for Snickers featuring Mr T harassing a speed walker for being a "disgrace to the man race" after US complaints that it was offensive to gay people.
The American confectionary giant pulled the Snickers ad even though it was never shown on TV in the US - as happened last month with the Heinz Deli Mayo ad featuring two men kissing.
The Snickers ad, made by the same agency that caused an international furore with the Heinz male kiss commercial, was first broadcast in the UK on July 13.
The commercial, by ad agency AMV BBDO, features Mr T in full-on BA Baracus mode, the character he played in The A-Team.
It opens with Mr T crashing through a building on the back of a flatbed truck mounted with a Snickers-firing machine gun.
Mr T pulls alongside a man in tight yellow shorts who is speed walking and growls: "Speed walking. I pity you fool. You a disgrace to the man race. It's time to run like a real man."
He then opens fire, peppering the man with Snickers bars and forcing him to break into a run.
In the UK the TV ad barely ruffled feathers, the Advertising Standards Authority said.
The ASA received just two complaints and did not investigate the commercial for a possible breach of the advertising code.
However, the ad caused a storm overseas. A US advertising industry title published an open letter challenging Omnicom, AMV BBDO's American parent company.
The Human Rights Campaign criticised Mars for perpetuating "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".
Mars said that the ad was meant to be "fun", that it never intended to cause offence and has pulled the campaign.
"This ad is the second in a series of UK Snickers Ads featuring Mr T, which are meant to be fun and have been positively received in the UK," said a spokeswoman for Mars.
"However, we understand that humour is highly subjective, and it is never our intention to cause offense. Accordingly, we have pulled the Mr T Speedwalker ad globally."