One of America’s favorite snacks has been dipped not in a glass of milk, but in a sea of controversy. And this is probably by design.
Kraft Foods has posted an image of a gay-pride themed version of an Oreo on its Facebook page with the text "Proudly support love!" above the image. The cookie’s cream filling is displayed in the six colors of the rainbow that are synonymous with the gay community. Kraft confirmed the gesture was indeed in recognition of Pride Month in the U.S.
Basil Maglaris, associate director of corporate affairs, released a statement to ABC News in an e-mail saying: “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.”
For some organizations, close identification with and support of the LGBT community would be a huge PR risk. Sensitive subjects such as sexuality, racism and politics have generally been topics that communicators and brands try to avoid. But for Kraft, it was likely a calculated risk it was willing to take as the potential reward of showing public support of diversity and the LGBT community outweighed the risk of negative reaction they would potentially receive from consumers.
As expected, many were not pleased with the photo, which Kraft must have expected. But the organization, which also owns Kool-Aid and JELL-O, received overwhelming support on its social media channels as over 220,000 people have “liked” the photo on Facebook and just as many, including GLAAD, have shown support on Twitter.
The cookie will not actually be sold in stores as it is just a visual campaign. However Kraft made a bold move in releasing the image. It effectively used its social media channels to brand a new, yet controversial “product” and allowed consumers to engage and voice their opinions, good or bad. A risk? Yes. But Kraft laid down a blueprint for other bold organizations to follow.
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