Australian confectionery company forced to pull TV ad after backlash over ‘inappropriate and racist’ packaging

A television advertisement for a confectionery brand has received major backlash for illustrating a controversial golliwog in its company logo, reports

A television advertisement for a confectionery brand has received major backlash for illustrating a controversial golliwog in its company logo, reports Daily Mail.

The Beechworth Sweet Co. has been forced to pull an ad from airing on TV across Victoria after the Advertising Standards Board ruled the Victorian company had used an “inappropriate racist symbol”.

Apparently, the advertisement features an animated version of the logo with the golliwog alongside other stuffed toys standing around old-fashioned confectionery.

The logo was animated to make the golliwog wave, which prompted a viewer to make a complaint to the watchdog, claiming the ad was “offensive due to the depiction” of the toy.

“It shocked me deeply, this is a racist symbol!” the viewer said in their complaint.

Photo: Supplied.
Photo: Supplied.

“In 2016 the image of a golliwog on television is completely inexcusable. I truly believe casual racism like this is so damaging to the community and this commercial should never be aired again.”
However, the company has defended the logo, which appeared at the final scene of the ad, claiming it was ‘set up when the business opened in 1992′.

“The logo is done in an old fashioned style to depict the Victorian era of the historic town of Beechworth which maintains signage and streetscapes as part of its heritage attraction,’ the lolly shop said.

“The Beechworth Sweet Co. believes the logo represents childhood memories, eg. toys, pets and old fashioned confectionery.
“Golliwogs now referred to as Gollies were very popular toys at the beginning of the 20th century and were characters in many children’s books.
“The racial connotation of golliwogs came around the 1960s. We believe we represent gollies as part of happy childhood memories in a tasteful respectful way.”
In its ruling, the advertising watchdog found that the “golly is now recognised as a symbol of racial insensitivity due to its origins as a minstrel-like caricature as minstrels were usually white men using black face to depict “racist Black stereotypes”.”
The Board claimed that by “making the golly’s hand move in the animated final scene”, the company was “drawing specific attention to this doll”.

While the Board has no jurisdiction over the design of the company logo, the watchdog considered that by “using animation to highlight the characters in the logo, and by drawing the viewer’s attention to one particular toy, the golly, the advertisement uses an inappropriate racist symbol.

“The Board considered that the use of the animated golly character represents a symbol that humiliates and ridicules a person on account of the colour of their skin,” the ruling claimed.
They also considered that the advertisement did portray or depict material in a way which vilifies a person or section of the community on account of race.

This had led The Beechworth Sweet Co. to suspend their TV ad pending further correspondence regarding the processes and the possibility of a review.
The company said, “It has never been our intention to be racist. The intent of this advertisement has always been to share our love of sweets,”
The ‘Golliedolls’ which has frizzy hair, dark skin and clown lips rose to popularity in the 1970s and have sparked public outrage ever since.

Do you think it’s fair to penalise Beechworth?

  1. No, definitely not. It’s a toy, and only a toy. Why do people have to read into things differently. Do you see complaints about teddy bears, white dolls, Chinese, dolls, Indian dolls, the list can go on and on. Everyone is just too picky these days.

    • Why doesn’t the company run the ad indefinitely and send a photocopy of two fingers extended to everyone who complains?

    • Peter Greer  

      One theory of the origin of the name “Golliwogg” says that while British soldiers held Egypt in the second half of the 19th century they had Egyptian laborers that worked for them. Workers wore insignia W.O.G.S. on their armbands which meant “Working on Government Service”. British troops spoke of them as “ghouls” – which is an Arabic word for a desert ghost. Egyptian children played with black dolls which they would sometimes give to British soldiers or they would buy dolls from children. That dolls were later called “Ghuliwogs” and later “Golliwogg”. How much truth is in this theory – it is not known.We are going mad in this country all the do godies need to get a life

    • Terry Woods  

      i couldnt agee me, make something out of nothing, its a doll we had as children not a human. soon we wont be able to eat foreign food because it will upset someone….just ridiculous!

    • Paul lawson  

      obviously has nothing better to do or probably an old maid never had kids and regretting bit

    • Irene  

      Politically Correct has become absolutely stupid. Golliwog is a toy and that is all.
      This country tries to apease everyone except the people who live in it. We go to another country and we have to abide by their laws etc.

  2. [email protected]  

    What rot, the majority of ppl ,just think of golltwogs as TOYS. I made a family of them a few yrs back for a craft exhibition ,not 1 comment was made about rasism. Get your head out of the sand.

  3. Ticked Off  

    Am I correct is assuming only one (1) complaint?
    Political Correctness gone mad – what the hell has a golliwog got to do with racism. Are “white” dolls, etc, racist too???
    We’re not born racists – but learn this behavior from our elders, and people who object to golliwogs are perhaps displaying their racist attitudes despite being vigorous anti-racist campaigners. Delloran12 says “get your head out of the sand” – I say to the complainant – pull your head in and let kids be kids.

    • Marilyn  

      Well said! Sick it all the golliwog ROT! They are gorgeous toys 😀

  4. Harry Vincent  

    What a lot of Rubbish. I say to the complainent, stand b ack and take a look at yourself you need some help I think

  5. Why are we ranting over something so beautiful and simple. I love the symbol with the golliwog. I’ve got mine and grandkids love him. Are we racial?

  6. Vicki Hooper  

    Well I have seen it all now .One person is offended by a toy doll waving its hand …This person needs to go out into the real world where there is real problems .I have a feeling this person must be having a lot of mental problems to have to worry about a doll.
    I would suggest the person leaves the television off a few hours a day and goes outside breathe the fresh air and mingle with real people for a change ……

    • Beverley davidson  

      I agree with you Vicki, as does anyone with half a brain.

  7. Harry Vincent  

    What a lot of Rubbish. I say to the complainent, stand b ack and take a look at yourself you need some help I think

  8. Rosanne Newton  

    What a load of baloney.

    • Dean Lambert  

      best comment which needs to be made. what a load of nonsense.

  9. Jennifer Young  

    The person complaining is the racist. I find people that complain about racism are usually racist themselves. I love golliwogs, I have made a few over the years for my grandchildren to play with. I hope the Beechworth Sweet company can get past this, and show their advertisement again.

    • I agree Jennifer Young, Golliwogs are and always have been, just toys, to see anything offensive about them, I think that person must themselves, be very racist. Absolute rubbish……

    • Christina  

      I just bought a Golliwog doll for my granddaughter.
      What is wrong with people?
      Get a life!

  10. Paul Hoolihan  

    When are we ggoing to ignore the idiots in our society and just take ads as they come. This no more racist that some of the other ads which depict various coloured kids, some being the winners and some being the losers.

  11. Sandra Workman  

    What utter twaddle, I suppose if it was Noddy and Big Ears, we would have a similar complaint, and what about Raggedy Anne? All white but different to the perceived “norm?” Get a life people it is an accurate depiction of our childhood and with no racial slur.

  12. Jill Young  

    Golliwogs are toys! This is nuts. We all need to take a deep breath and calm down methinks.

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