An ad featuring a gay pride-themed Oreo is stirring up viral controversy today after Kraft posted the rainbow-colored Oreo on the popular treat's Facebook page. The ad, which featured an oversized cookie with rainbow-hued frosting layers above the date and accompanying caption, “Proudly support love!” was originally posted to Oreo’s profile Monday evening.
June has special significance in the LGBT community. President Barack Obama declared the month Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered Pride Month on June 1, 2009. Many US cities, including New York and San Francisco, held annual Pride events over the weekend.
So far, over 167,000 Facebook users have “liked” the photoshopped image of the self-proclaimed “world’s favorite cookie.” It has racked up 48,853 shares and over 22,000 comments – not all of them positive, and quite a few vitriolic.
Website Buzzfeed was one of the first sites to aggregate some of the more negative feedback as rumblings of a possible boycott grew louder Tuesday morning.
Facebook user Jeff Tulloch writes, “No gay pride I boycott now.” Lacy Wheeler Anderson sadly posts, “I love oreos but will no longer be buying them because of this,” while another user, Cody Patterson comments, “disliked Oreo page just because of this one post. Think about how much business u just killed oreo. I can’t support a business that supports gays.”
At least Boycott Oreo Facebook page has also been created in response to the cookie, which the ad was careful to point out is not real. The page so far has 0 “likes.”
Many other comments applauded the move. “This is absolutely amazing!” writes Haley Swilling. Eric Andrew writes, “Awesome Oreo. Merci beaucoup!”
Oreo’s parent company Kraft Foods, which also owns Jell-O and Kool-Aid, among many other brands, released a statement saying that the picture was part of a “series of daily ads reflecting current events in a fun way using images of Oreo cookies and milk.” Basil Maglaris, a spokeswoman for Kraft, told ABC News in an email that the cookie was created solely in honor of Pride month.
“We are excited to illustrate what is making history today in a fun and playful way,” she writes in the email. “As a company, Kraft Foods has a proud history of celebrating diversity and inclusiveness. We feel the OREO ad is a fun reflection of our values.”
Oreo is only the latest in a line of high-profile brands that have proclaimed their support for the LGBT community through various ad campaigns. A line of gay pride t-shirts launched by Target sold out in less than a month, while Ben & Jerry’s ice cream has renamed two different flavors in honor of marriage equality: “Apple-y Ever After,” an apple pie ice cream sold in the U.K. during debates over same-sex marriage legalization, and “Hubby Hubby,” a version of the “Chubby Hubby” flavor that premiered when same sex marriage was legalized in Vermont in 2009.
Department store JCPenney has drawn significant criticism from conservative groups such as One Million Moms for a recent series of ads featuring gay and lesbian parents. The clothing purveyor made headlines last year for recruiting openly gay talk show host Ellen DeGeneres as its spokesperson. One Million Moms, which has 47,825 "likes" on its Facebook page, launched a boycott of the store.