US complaints lead to Mr T ad being pulled from UK screens
An advertising campaign featuring A-Team star Mr T has been withdrawn after concerns it may be offensive to gay men.
In the ad Mr T calls a speed walker in tight shorts “a disgrace to the man race.”
While only two complaints were received by the Advertising Standards Agency in the UK, and no action will be taken, it seems American gays were unhappy with the ad, which was never screened in the US.
Gay group Human Rights Campaign said:
“These kinds of ads perpetuate 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.
“We are hopeful that Mars will make the necessary changes in their organization to ensure this does not happen yet again.”
Mars said in a statement:
“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.
“We understand that humour is highly subjective, and it is never our intention to cause offence.
“Accordingly, we have pulled the Mr T speed walker ad globally.”
The ad was made by Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, who were also responsible for a Heinz Deli Mayo advert showing to men kissing.
After a campaign by Christian activists the ad was withdrawn, leading to calls from the gay community for a boycott.
The Snickers brand has caused controversy in the US before, which may be why American gays took offence to the Mr T adverts.
In February 2007 an advertising campaign that featured American football stars showing disgust at the idea of two men kissing was abandoned by Mars.
The advert for Snickers was aired during CBS television’s coverage of the Super Bowl.
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It showed two mechanics eating from opposite ends of a Snickers bar and, after their mouths touch, ripping out their chest hair in an attempt to “do something manly.”
The Snickers website showed alternate endings for the ad, among them, a version called “Wrench” where one man grabs a wrench and uses it to bash the other, who responds by slamming the hood of the car down on his head.
The web advert also featured video of National Football League athletes reacting with prejudice and disgust to depictions of two men kissing.
Snickers sponsor the NFL.
“That ain’t right,” one player said, while another crinkled his face in disgust.