Enjoy Coke, as long as you're not "gay" ?
In a startling new development, the world's largest sugary-drinks maker Coca-Cola has censored its social media followers from using the word "gay" in the company's new social media gimmick -- but not the word "straight."
The normally proud Sochi Olympics sponsor, Coca-Cola is expressing shame to its social media followers if they try to type the word "gay" into a meme generator that lets users affix brief messages on a blank red Coca-Cola can, but one that still bears the trademark white swoosh, or wave. The censorship is evidenced by a capture video of a computer screen's movements posted to YouTube by a user named Kaleb Sutra.
Social media followers who type the word "gay" are met with the following response : “Oops. Let’s pretend you didn’t just type that," the same as if followers had just typed in curse words, like "dick," "pussy," or "bitch."
Coca-Cola's association of "gay" with profanity comes on the heels of the proud Sochi Olympics sponsor trying to disassociate itself from the doomed marketing gimmicks of McDonald's, which launched a karmically-challenged social media campaign on Twitter with the hashtag #CheersToSochi in the face of a violent, seemingly government-sponsored crackdown against LGBT Russians following the passage of an anti-gay propaganda law last year.
- RELATED : Coke has gone into an Olympic-sized closet, downplaying its Sochi sponsorship (AMERICAblog)
- RELATED : U.S. Olympic Athletes Told Wearing Team Colors In Sochi Puts Them At Risk: Reports (Huffington Post)
- RELATED : New Activist Video Mocks Coca-Cola's "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing" Over anti-LGBT Russian Sochi Olympics (NYC : News & Analysis)
That the tinge of censorship has now befallen Coca-Cola's latest social media campaign reveals the adverse advertising conditions the large sugary-drinks maker must confront in connection with this year's controversial Winter Olympics, set to take place in Sochi, a southern Russian coastal resort town across the Black Sea from Turkey. Russia's anti-gay law has sparked global outrage ahead of the Olympics, and many foolish corporations like Coca-Cola, which blindly paid large sums of money to sponsor the Sochi Olympics, must now account to their customers for the sponsorship of the games in a nation that is violently cracking down against its very own LGBT citizens.
Since last summer, Coca-Cola had become the target of protests based on its sponsorship decision, and last week one LGBT activism group released a brilliant YouTube video, mocking Coca-Cola's morally bankrupt brand for having once sponsored multi-cultural dignity and respect but which now supports Russia's violent anti-LGBT crackdown.
No word yet on how Coca-Cola's own Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Ally (LGBTA) Business Resource Group, or its other Diversity Advisory Councils, are able to reconcile the corporation's controversial sponsorship of the Sochi Olympics.
Is it time for Greenlight Capital to short some stock ?
These latest marketing setbacks add to Coca-Cola's growing problems. Last year, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg launched a highly-visible attack on super-sized sugary drinks, seeking to ban the sale of high-calorie drinks as a way to fight obesity and obesity-related maladies, like diabetes and heart disease. A court blocked Mayor Bloomberg's ban on large sugary-drinks, but Mayor Bloomberg's successor has vowed to fight to restore the ban. Efforts to improve its corporate image have also proved to be problematic for Coca-Cola after the corporation faced allegations that it was depleting ground water and contributing to pollution in India. Coca-Cola's role in creating water shortages in India have led some local authorities to suggest last week that they would take actions to demolish a Coca-Cola bottling plant in Uttar Pradesh.
Coca-Cola is still recovering from the shocking 2009 documentary exposé, The Coca-Cola Case, of its labour violations in Colombia, Guatemala, and Turkey.
Similarly, the damage that McDonald's is doing to its own reputation following it's own deadly silence on the violent Russian LGBT crackdown comes at a time when the world's largest hamburger chain is losing customer loyalty and is facing an embarrassing sales slump. "We've lost some of our customer relevance," CEO Don Thompson told Wall Street analysts during a conference call this week.
Separately, it's unclear how much the credit card issuer VISA stands to lose, if anything, from the recent spree of credit card fraud impacting several large American retailers.
Is it time for Greenlight Capital to create a bespoke basket of Olympic sponsor equities, and then short it ?