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February 08, 2007


I think the saddest part of this whole fiasco is that someone obviously DID think they'd captured a customer insight worth exploiting: namely, the homophobia of men 18-24. Look at their statement: "As with all of our Snickers advertising, our goal was to capture the attention of our core Snickers consumer, primarily 18-to-24-year-old adult males," Masterfoods spokesperson Alice Nathanson told the New York Times. "Feedback from our target consumers has been positive, and many media and Web site commentators on this year’s Super Bowl lineup ranked the commercial among this year’s best."

There's not the breath of an apology there, nor any recognition of the hateful subtext in their campaign. Clearly they blame those offended for not appreciating their brand of humor, as they go on to say: "We know that humor is highly subjective and we understand that some consumers have found the commercial offensive."

[Actually, I found the commercial entirely predictable as well as obviously mean-spirited — which makes it even more inexcusable.]

Further, they fail to address a key issue: regardless of customer insight, don't marketers bear some responsibility NOT to appeal to the worst in people?

That's actually a good question for many other broadcasters and government officials out there.

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