An advertisement depicting a couple of girls with their boyfriends watching a movie and snacking on Maltesers.
What could possibly be wrong with that?
Well, nothing, as it transpires with the Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB) dismissing complaints that it perpetuated the idea that being gay or male closeness is something to be ridiculed and laughed at.
In the ad, the girls manoeuvre their boyfriends into an embrace on the couch. While they sit on the floor, eating Maltesers of course, the men snuggle into each other and one man kisses the other without either man waking up fully.
That prompted another complaint that it was advertising homosexuality to young people.
Confectionery giant Mars responded by saying the advertisement was created to depict a range of people acting in a playful, innocent manner as they consumed Maltesers.
“The intention of this particular advertisement was to showcase a playful moment between two girlfriends who play an innocent joke on their boyfriends who have fallen asleep on the couch whilst watching a movie by positioning them to hug one another, knowing that each boyfriend would mistakenly assume they were hugging their girlfriend,” they said.
“The way they position their respective boyfriend is in no way sexually suggestive and in fact is something that would be acceptable to do in public without causing offence.”
The ASB agreed, saying that there was no suggestion that the girlfriends considered homosexuality as something to be ridiculed but rather the women were playing a joke on their partners due to their sleepy state.
“The Board considered that the joke was not a derogatory sentiment toward homosexual men and did not depict material which discriminates against or vilifies a person on account of sexual preference,” the ASB ruled.
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