Coco-Cola the world’s biggest drinks manufacturer has been slammed for removing the gay couple segment from the Irish version of the advert.
A Spokesperson for the drinks company said:
“The wedding images used in the ad for the UK and in other parts of Europe show two men getting married.
“The reason this was changed for Ireland is while civil partnership for gay people is legal, gay marriage currently is not. We wanted each ad to be relevant and valid for its own market.”
Coca-Cola trended in Ireland as many people took to the social network to complain about the edit.
Adam Long an LGBT Rights activist from Dublin said:
“@CocaCola Ireland excuse for deleting gay couple from ad just not credible. Cut scene could just as easily have been a Civil Partnership
“Accurate ‘consumer research’ on issue would also tell @CocaCola that Ireland has one of the highest levels of support for marriage equality.
“@CocaCola Ireland made a bad call. They need to apologise to the Irish LGBT community and put the deleted scene back into ad #cocacolaadvert”
TheGayUK has asked the spokespeople for Coca-Cola about the scenes shot for the advert – as it is impossible to tell whether the scene is a marriage or civil partnership. We’ve yet to receive a response.
The first same-sex marriages are to be legal in the UK in March 2014.
The new ad campaign by Coca-Cola, which is called ‘Reasons To Believe’, shows a male same-sex couple holding hands in wedding suits in the UK, but the Irish version of the same advert omits the scene for a straight interracial couple walking down the aisle.
The advert is apparently tweaked to fit where the advert is shown – with the gay couple being shown everywhere in Europe where gay marriage and civil partnerships are currently legal.
Coca-Cola has been under fire recently for not speaking about LGBT issues in the run-up to the Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia. On the 22nd of December a PR event hosted by the company was ambushed by Peter Tatchell and other gay rights protesters.
“Coke is sponsoring the Sochi Winter Olympics, without even a murmur of unease at the anti-gay and repressive policies of the Putin government. It is shameful acquiescence with oppression,” said Peter Tatchell, Director of the human rights advocacy organisation, the Peter Tatchell Foundation, who coordinated the protest.
“By sponsoring the Sochi Winter Olympics, Coca Cola is rewarding the Putin regime; giving it legitimacy and credibility. Coke’s sponsorship comes at a time when homophobia and other human rights abuses are widespread in Russia.
“It is shocking that Coca Cola has not been willing to express its disquiet at the anti-gay legislation and violence in Russia. Equally remiss is Coke’s unwillingness to speak out against other Russian human rights abuses.”
In a survey by TheGayUK, 96.3% of respondents believed that commercially supporting Russia’s winter Olympics threatened a company’s LGBT friendly image.