Advertising agency Scholz & Friends has issued an apology for designing an ad declaring that tofu is the “gay meat.” According to Pink News, the ad showed a steak branded with the words “Tofu ist schwules fleisch” for a restaurant chain, Maredo. The ad has not actually been used but appeared on the website of Art Directors Club website after the Scholz & Friends won a silver prize in an advertising competition.
The ad “efficiently manages to offend gays and soya bean fans in only four words,” as Pink News puts it.
On Monday, Maredo released a statement saying that the ad’s message is “not compatible with our corporate philosophy” and that had never used the ad. But as Der Spiegel notes, the uproar over the image is turning into a PR headache for the restaurant chain. While noting that the company is not homophobic, one person points out that Maredo does use factory-farm meat; an avid discussion continues on Twitter at #tofuschwuchtel.
The ad was visible on the website from 2009 until this week along with other images for a possible ad campaign and there were apparently no complaints. Maredo says that it had never seen the image. Another idea for the ad campaign was the equally tasteless “If you do not animals, why are they made of meat?” (“Wenn man Tiere nicht essen soll, warum sind sie dann aus Fleisch?”).
Scholz & Friends has said of the ad “We would not do that today, and regret that the feelings of homosexual people were hurt.” No matter: as one Twitter user observes “The Web never forgets, even things that never really were” (“Das Web vergisst nichts, sogar Dinge, die es nie wirklich gab: is.gd/sSw8Je#Tofuschwuchtel”).
Certainly Maredo and Scholz & Friends won’t be forgetting that lesson anytime soon.
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