Backlash to Creme Egg advert made real-life queer Cadbury couple question their religious beliefs
The gay couple who starred in the recent Cadbury’s Creme Egg commercial says people have taken a “gimmick” about sharing sweets and “sexualised it”.
The couple told PinkNews that they have experienced a “rollercoaster” of emotions in response to being featured in the commercial, which caused them to question the media, consumer mindsets and even their religious beliefs.
‘Nobody expected the blowback to Creme Egg advert’
Dale, who is 25 and identifies as non-binary, told PinkNews that the advert’s popularity – or the conversation around it – “came in two waves”. They said the initial “wave” was overwhelmingly positive and came from mostly people in the UK, but there was a “second wave” of backlash which happened when the advert spread more globally.
Neither Dale nor Callum, 30, expected the blowback they received from what appeared to them to be a “normal day at work”. Dale said: “Nobody in production, at Cadbury and especially ourselves thought there would be any blowback from the commercial.”
They argued a lot of the negative response fed from an over-sexualisation of a couple sharing a Creme Egg. Dale explained: “I think the blowback came from the fact that a lot of everyday people took what was sharing a Creme Egg, which was more of a gimmick ‘how do you share a Creme Egg’ and sexualised it.”
“I think it’s a common issue we have in mainstream media right now,” they said. “Cis-normative narratives are constantly fed to queer children, and everybody else from the moment we start consuming media.”
They told PinkNews that people are “generally OK” with seeing gay people on TV, but the general public “don’t want to see them kissing of touching or doing anything ‘gay'”.
The couple said there was no “underlying narrative” that Cadbury wanted them sharing the Egg to be “sexualised at all”. They said, when they auditioned for the role, there was no mention of the company wanting to feature a gay couple.
Dale, who is the creative director at queer talent agency House of Androgyny, said the contract was gender non-specific. They said the media and its “consumers” sexualised the couple sharing the egg, which made it more “outlandish and shocking” than it was meant to be.
The negative response, especially from religious groups, has left them with a ‘really bad taste in my mouth’
Callum, who is a professional dancer and model, told PinkNews that the pair had done many commercials, but had never received a response like this. He said it was “shocking” at first, but sadly the negativity they received has been “disappointedly predictable”.
“I think anyone that decides to live their life as an out person with pride, especially if you’re a little bit different from the norm, [will encounter] someone with opposing opinions on how you choose to live your life,” Callum said.
He said he had started to get more negativity online because of the advert, especially on Instagram. But Callum said there were “no original comments” which “I had not heard throughout my whole life”.
“The second wave response was a lot more negative, especially on a personal level when I would open up my phone, and I didn’t have my mental blocks up because I was just in the comfort of my own home,” he said.
He said the negative response to the commercials had made him question humanity and reflect on his religious beliefs. Callum told PinkNews he is a “very open” Christian, and the religious groups who lambasted the couple and commercial left him with a “really bad taste in my mouth in regards to religion”.
“It makes me question the religion itself,” Callum said. “It’s been a real whirlwind on my part.”
The UK’s advertising authority received 40 complaints about the kiss in the Creme Egg advert
But the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said the advert hasn’t broken any advertising rules so it won’t be investigating the ad.
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The announcement came after a petition against the Creme Egg advert has attracted more than 30,000 signatures. The petition called on the ASA to ban the commercial because it is causing “gratuitous offence” to members of the Christian community and is “selling sex to children”.
“Given that children often copy what they see on screen, the advert constitutes a form of grooming, exposing children to inappropriate and graphic sexual content,” it bizarrely claims.
The petition accused the manufacturer of “hoping to cause controversy and escape criticism” by highlighting members of the LGBT+ community “by claiming that any objections must be rooted in homophobia”.
In response to the petition, Cadbury said it has “always been a progressive brand that spreads a message of inclusion, whether it is through its products or brand campaigns”.
A spokesperson said in a statement: “We are proud of our Golden Goobilee advert which celebrates the many ways that everyone can enjoy a Cadbury Creme Egg.
“To illustrate this and showcase the joy our products bring, a clip of a real-life couple sharing a Cadbury Creme Egg was included in the advert.”