Demands to end a series of new Campbell
Soup Company ads published in the
gay media have been roundly rejected by the company. The
iconic American brand has said it would not retract from its first
foray into the gay and lesbian market.
The soup hullabaloo erupted on the
Internet when a series of ads highlighting the company's Swanson
brand of broth with recipes and celebrity chef endorsements appeared
in the December issue of gay monthly The Advocate. The
four-page spread features openly lesbian Cafe Forant Chef Lea Forant
with her partner, Carolyn, and their young son Eli.
The Christian-based American Family
Association (AFA) called the Campbell campaign an endorsement of gay
families and the “homosexual agenda.”
“Campbell Soup Company has openly
begun helping homosexual activists push their agenda,” the AFA
wrote in an action alert that urged members to complain to
“Not only did the ads cost Campbell's
a chunk of money, but they also sent a message that homosexual
parents constitute a family and are worthy of support.”
“They also gave their approval to the
entire homosexual agenda,” the group said.
Amid the protest, Campbell's is
offering no apologies for the ads.
“Our position on this is pretty
straightforward,” company rep Anthony Sanzio told AdAge.
“Inclusion and diversity play an important role in our business,
and that fact is reflected in our marketing plan. For more than a
century, people from all walks of life have enjoyed Campbell's
products, and we will continue to try to communicate in ways that are
meaningful and relevant to them.”
The AFA, founded in 1977 by Rev.
Donald Wildmon, has a long history of objecting to equal rights for
gays and lesbians. It has lobbied against gay marriage and
hate-crime legislation that would benefit gays.
The association has protested
gay-inclusive advertising in the past by boycotting those companies
that have marketed to the gay community.
In March, the AFA ended its two-year
boycott against Ford Motor Company after it stopped advertising in
the gay media. The automaker, however, has said it stopped running
all niche advertising when the economy soured.
A 6-month boycott against hamburger
giant McDonald's ended abruptly in October after the group said the
company had agreed to “remain neutral in the culture war regarding
homosexual marriage.” That statement, however, was never confirmed
by the company.
Sanzio said that the company will
continue marketing to the gay and lesbian community.