Let me preface this article by saying I am a huge fan of both Oreo cookies and Hallmark greeting cards. Both proved to be successful in a marketplace of ideas and products and have become household names in every corner of the nation and much of the world. Additionally, I’m not one of the many calling for boycotts of any particular corporation because I realize such actions rarely have any meaningful long-term results. I do understand, however, why so many are upset, and if you’re not already familiar with the stories, you will soon understand, too.
Beginning with the ubiquitous Nabisco’s recent support of the gay community through it’s rainbow-colored Oreo cookie ad, this week started with a corporation’s blatant interference into a hotly-contested political debate. With about 40,000 comments under the ad on Oreo’s Facebook page, it’s obvious that the campaign sparked a reaction from a considerable portion of its social media followers. Granted, many of the responses were positive, as one would expect considering the community of posters are on the record as “liking” the product, but there were many comments opposing Nabisco’s decision to embrace the gay agenda.
Oreo included the caption, “Proudly support love,” apparently not recognizing the fact that, to millions of Americans, such “love” is considered an abomination of God’s will. Sure, I know everyone sins, but since when did it become the role of a major corporation to openly support any other sin? I don’t recall Chrysler’s pro-theft ad, and I’ve never seen Coca-Cola run spots in favor of adultery. My point is that Nabisco should want all people to enjoy the Oreo, whether straight, gay, or celibate. When did sexuality become such an open issue that cookie commercials must weigh in on?
Pandering to a community that comprises well under 4 percent of the country’s citizens, while a number much higher than that is vocally outraged, seems like a counterproductive way to advertise your product.
In the end, though, it’s a corporation’s prerogative to make any social comment they deem appropriate and must then accept whatever support or backlash it elicits. Speaking in favor of something conservatives oppose is one thing; Hallmark’s slap in the face to the Tea Party in one of its cards is an equally ugly side of the same coin.
Bearing an image of Barack Obama on its cover, the card in question quotes the president: “You graduated! Time to go to a lot of parties!” Whether or not this was intended as a presidential endorsement of heavy partying to a group of recent graduates is a debate for another day as the caption inside the card is much more disturbing. “But avoid those tea parties if you can. Trust me,” reads the interior, an obvious reference to the Tea Party patriots, the bane of Obama’s existence.
I just don’t understand how these companies feel it is in their best interest to engage in political activism through products they offer to loyal customers. In a political climate so engaged in mud-slinging (primarily from the left but occasionally by right-wingers), I have more than enough incendiary rhetoric to dissect from legitimate sources. It’d be nice to eat a cookie and read a card without being bombarded by such divisive content.
Photo credit: I Believe I Can Fry (Creative Commons)
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