Well, that was fast! Now you see it, now you don’t.
This morning I wrote about an offensive commercial advertising a popular Australian yeast spread, AussieMite. In the video, an attractive young woman approaches a bishop in the communion line to receive the Eucharist and then, to my horror, takes the consecrated host out of her mouth and dips it into a jar of the brown pasty stuff. The bishop is first shocked, but then at her invitation he, too, dips a host into the jar.
My readers have been keeping me up-to-date with regard to the backlash following release of the clearly blasphemous commercial.
Apparently, the company’s campaign to have a good laugh at the expense of the Catholic Church has backfired. Feedback has been extremely negative and Australia’s two largest grocery chains, facing consumer complaints, had threatened to take the product off their shelves.
The Catholic bishops in Australia have been decidedly low-key in their response, apparently trying not to add to the publicity. Father Brian Lucas, general secretary of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, said:
“It’s not done with any humour. It’s been done as a deliberate strategy to cause offence to maximise publicity for a product that has no other means of attracting an audience.”
Within the last 24 hours, the company has apologized publicly and has removed the offending video from its Facebook page and other social media. It’s still out there on YouTube (where I found it) and the ad agency website; but the company promises that those versions, too, will have been deleted by Monday.
They’ve posted numerous apologies on the company’s Facebook page, including this one:
To all our customers and anyone we may have upset with our ad.
We sincerely apologise for any offence caused. It was never the intention to do so, but we recognise that for some it did.
We have listened to your comments and removed any and all instances of the campaign from our social media channels.
We are a small family-owned company looking to establish ourselves and a product we believe in and love.
We sincerely hope that this will not dissuade you from buying AussieMite in the future.
And this pitiful plea:
Sending some love to all those commenting about our ad… love… love… love
And this personal assurance:
Again, the ad was not to offend and we apologise for any offence taken. I wish you all well and hope that you can open your hearts and make peace with this situation. My best wishes, Elise
The ad has been removed from our social media and we are taking action on your behalf regarding getting the ad removed via YouTube and various other channels.
Please understand that we may not have a response until Monday, so we ask for your patience.
Don’t think, though, that there has been a change of heart on the part of the persons responsible for the ad.
In my first post I quoted the ad’s creator, Catholic-basher Mick Hunter, who said:
“We’re trying to track down [Cardinal] George Pell’s email and send it to him so he can blow it out of proportion.”
I should have reported Hunter’s second line:
“It’s probably a bit sacrilegious to the faithful but they are dwindling in popularity as we speak.”
And a reader reported that when the complaints first began coming, someone in charge of AussieMite’s Facebook page tried to deflect criticism by posting links to articles regarding child-abusing priests. (As if the sinful actions of a few members of the clergy justified hurling insults at God and the entire Church!)
Anyway, the story is wrapping up. Consumers have spoken; and perhaps this incident will remind other corporations that it’s not good business to mess with people’s most strongly held beliefs.
If you’ve missed the video, check it out today, while you can still see it on YouTube. Click here to see the link on my earlier post.