Ice cream giant slammed for "racist" ads
Published: 13 Apr 2005 20:02 GMT+02:00
Updated: 13 Apr 2005 20:02 GMT+02:00
Sweden's biggest ice cream maker, GB Glace, has been accused of racism after launching an advertising campaign for its new ice cream, Nogger Black.
The company has been strongly criticised by the Centre Against Racism for associating the ice cream with black youth culture, including using graffiti-style writing in the ad.
"We're not critical of the colour of the ice cream or the name 'Black' but the whole concept of the advertisement," said Amina Ek of the Centre Against Racism to Svenska Dagbladet.
The ad itself features a heart drawn in white on a black background with the words 'Nogger + liquorice = true' inside.
The chairman of the Centre Against Racism, Stig Wallin, told Aftonbladet that he reacted immediately when he first saw the ad on Tuesday afternoon.
"I read it as 'Nigger + liquorice = true'," he said. "It's impossible not to see this as an allusion to racism."
Amina Ek said that this kind of ad "reinforced the racist structure of society" and that the Centre Against Racism was considering reporting GB to the Discrimination Ombudsman if the company did not withdraw the campaign.
But GB, which is owned by Unilever, said it didn't see what all the fuss was about.
Petronella Warg, the company's information officer, told The Local that the original Nogger ice cream had been around since 1979 and derived its name from the nougat filling.
"That was brown - and nobody complained about that," she said.
The new variety includes liquorice and is black, so "Nogger Black" apparently seemed like a natural name.
"I think what they say about the ads alluding to black hip hop culture is far-fetched," said Warg.
"Drawing a heart in the school playground with two names in, that's my culture."
According to Petronella Warg, the company had "a couple of complaints" from consumers when the ice cream was first launched a couple of weeks ago but "it was no big deal".
Nevertheless, she added that GB would listen to what the Centre Against Racism had to say.
"If anyone is really offended then we will take that into account
Aftonbladet's readers appeared to support GB's view on the matter. Of almost 50,000 people who answered the question "Do you think the ice cream advertisement is racist?" 94% said no.