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?