Snickers is apologizing for what was they say was supposed to be a humorous ad where a Snickers bar turned a flamboyant gay man into a bearded, butch man.
The Spanish ad features influencer Aless Gibaja and another man ordering at a restaurant. Gibaja asks the waiter for a “sexy orange juice… with vitamins A, B, and C” and sent the waiter kisses and hugs while the other customer and the waiter exchange horrified glances.
The waiter instead gives Gibaja an ice cream Snickers. Gibaja takes a bite and is transformed into a bearded man who appears stereotypically straight.
“Better?” the other customer asks him.
“Better,” he responds in a deep voice.
Text on the video says “You’re not yourself when you’re hungry.”
The ad came out last month but started getting criticized on Spanish Twitter for homophobia this past week.
“How do you keep making campaigns like this?” tweeted Mario Montes.
— Mario Montes (@mariomnts) August 4, 2021
Congress of Deputies Member Íñigo Errejón called out Snickers for mocking feminine men and said it was inappropriate in “a summer in which attacks on LGBTI people multiplied.” He was referring to, among other attacks, 24-year-old Samuel Luiz who was beaten to death in the street by a mob shouting “fag” and accusing him of looking at them.
— Íñigo Errejón (@ierrejon) August 5, 2021
Another person called the ad “femme-phobic” and “repugnant.”
El REPUGNANTE anuncio PLUMÓFOBO de Snickers. pic.twitter.com/bxtgMHh44e
— Gato (@gamomena) August 4, 2021
The Spanish LGBTQ organization Federación Estatal LGTB called the ad “shameful and pitiful.”
“If you need some training for your next try, we’re here,” the organization tweeted.
Es vergonzoso y lamentable que a estas alturas haya empresas que sigan perpetuando estereotipos y promoviendo la #homofobia y la #plumofobia. Si necesitáis algo de formación para la próxima vez, aquí estamos, #Snickers.
— Federación Estatal LGTB (@FELGTB) August 5, 2021
Even Spain’s Minister for Equality, Irene Montero, said that the ad used “homophobia as a business strategy.”
Me pregunto a quién le puede parecer una buena idea usar la homofobia como estrategia comercial.
Nuestra sociedad es diversa y tolerante. Ojalá aprendan a serlo también quienes tienen el poder para tomar las decisiones sobre lo que vemos y oímos en anuncios y programas de TV.
— Irene Montero (@IreneMontero) August 5, 2021
By Thursday, Snickers Spain had apologized for “any misunderstanding” and said that they understood that the “message could be misinterpreted, we will immediately end the campaign.”
“In this campaign, we wanted to convey in a nice and humorous way that hunger can change your character,” Snickers Spain said in a statement. “It was not intended to stigmatize or offend any person or community.”