You know you’re in trouble when you’re being called racist by the Daily Mail.
That’s the unlikely position Cadbury found itself in yesterday, as the nation’s former corporate sweetheart continued to reap the whirlwind of its takeover by Kraft Foods.
Naomi Campbell says an advert, since pulled, for the Dairy Milk Bliss bar is racist. ‘Move over Naomi,’ the ad says. ‘There’s a new diva in town.’ The idea, presumably, is to convey ideas of luxury and indulgence.
Daily Bread certainly isn’t adequately informed to wade into the racial politics of the issue. But here’s the take of Simon Woolley from campaign group Operation Black Vote.
“Racism in the playground starts with black children being called ‘chocolate bar’,” he told the Mail. “At best, this is insensitive – and at worst demonstrates Cadbury’s utter disregard for causing offence. Its lack of apology just adds insult to injury.”
It’s unlikely, to the say the least, anybody at Cadbury decided to deliberately use racist abuse as the foundation for an advertising campaign. And the company strenuously denies doing anything of the sort, describing the ad as a “light-hearted take on the social pretensions” of the chocolate bar that meant no offence to anybody.
On the other hand, even leaving aside the race issue, you don’t need a glass and a half of common sense to realise it’s not worth getting tangled up with Ms Campbell at the best of times (especially when there’s any number of outdated celebrity references you could use to embody high-maintenance behaviour).
Whatever your view, the story continues yet another week of bad press for Kraft, just days after Evil Auntie Irene was chastised by MPs for her supposedly high-handed attitude. As we reported in Saturday’s edition of The Grocer, Kraft’s boss saw no point in turning up to hear “ill-founded allegations and insults” from the BIS committee.
This time it was only the Mail, which shouted its disapproval over the Kraft deal the loudest, that went big on Campbell’s race claim. But the drip-drip of bad press won’t stop anytime soon.
Sometimes an apology can go a long way, even if you’re certain you’ve done nothing wrong.