By Matt Gillis
The success of a company’s advertising campaign depends on its ability to stand out against the clutter of its competitors. Traditionally, companies use attention-grabbing themes like sex and beauty to garner added publicity. More recently, advertisers have begun incorporating contemporary, controversial topics like sexuality to create media buzz for their clients.
Honey Maid, producer of snack products including graham crackers and Teddy Grahams, released their “This is Wholesome” advertising campaign on March 10 via YouTube. The commercial features several different types of families, including a single dad, an interracial family, a blended family and two gay men as parents.
The advertisement, which recognizes that the reality of family has changed, but the wholesome connections that families share still remains, received over four million views within four days of being uploaded. With 4.5 million views today, Honey Maid says the commercial has received ten times more positive comments than negative ones despite its controversial nature.
However, several large organizations have spoken out about the advertisement, specifically about its message of describing homosexuality families as “wholesome.” One such organization, One Million Moms, a group promoting “biblical truths” and family values, described the commercial as attempting to “normalize sin” and characterized the two gay parents as “sexually perverse.” The group stated that if Honey Maid continues to define these families as “wholesome,” they would boycott the company’s products.
Honey Maid used the negativity surrounding the initial advertisement as an extension of their overall campaign. The company released a response video showing that the number of supporters of Honey Maid’s campaign greatly outweighed those who were against it. The video reads, “But the best part was all the positive messages we received—over ten times as many—proving that only one thing really matters when it comes to family: love.”
I believe this campaign was successful not only because it managed to gain widespread attention due to the use of a controversial topic like homosexuality (which was, no doubt, a strategic decision made by Honey Maid), but also because the company was able to turn the negative publicity into something positive with their “Honey Maid: Love” response video. The company successfully characterized itself as a progressive brand with every family in mind.
Because Honey Maid already had an established brand following before the release of this campaign, the company was able to approach the topic of homosexuality without much backlash. Honey Maid is the top company in its brand category of graham crackers. The company’s loyal customers will probably remain loyal. However, if Honey Maid was not a top competitor in the marketplace, their campaign approach may have cost them their success and longevity.
– Lee, J. (2014, April 4). Honey Maid responds to antigay backlash with ‘Love’ video. USA Today. Retrieved April 4, 2014, from http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2014/04/04/honey-maid-love-gay-rights/7303481/
– Nichols, J. (2014, April 3). Honey Maid releases ‘Love’ in response to anti-gay commercial backlash. The Huffington Post. Retrieved April 4, 2014, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/03/honey-maid-love-commercial_n_5086442.htmlComments