Coca-Cola is taking heat for removing images of two grooms from an ad the beverage giant is running in Ireland.
In its global campaign, "Reasons to Believe," the company put together a montage featuring people interacting in a variety of ways: at work and at play; succeeding and failing; celebrating and arguing.
In most European countries, the ad contains a brief scene of two men standing with their wedding party. But in the Irish version of the clip, the scene has been replaced with a bride and groom.
Adweek noted that while the amended clip is running in Ireland, the spot with the gay couple was posted online and is airing in Norway, Great Britain and the Netherlands.
Here's the original spot (the grooms appear at the 0:40 mark):
In response to criticism over the change, Coca-Cola told Ireland's The Journal that the advertisement has been tailored for each individual market. The goal, a company representative said, is for the ad to resonate with the people within each country where it is shown.
"You will note for example that the St. Patrick’s Day scene is only included in the Irish version as it is only here that it is truly relevant from a cultural perspective," a Coca-Cola representative said.
Image source: YouTube
The company said the grooms were excluded from the Irish version because gay marriage is not legal in the largely Catholic country.
"As you rightly say, the wedding images used in the ad for the UK and in other parts of Europe show two men getting married," the company explained. "The reason that this was changed for Ireland is that while civil partnership for gay people is legal, gay marriage currently is not. This will be the subject of a referendum (2015)."
The issue was first raised over the weekend by Irish LGBT publication EILE Magazine, which called the decision to ax the gay marriage scene an "inexplicable move."
"The footage used in the European ad was of an Australian same-sex union (equivalent to civil partnership) ceremony, and not a 'gay marriage' as the spokesperson stated. Australia – like Ireland – does not have marriage equality," the magazine said. "Contrary to the spokesperson’s statement, the footage used in the Coca Cola advert – which we now know to be of Australian gay couple, Clinton & Callum – was taken from a video by Soda Films of a same-sex union ceremony in Australia. Australia does not have 'gay marriage', as the spokesperson calls it, and therefore the scene in question would have been suitable for Ireland."
Here's the Irish spot, with a bride and groom on their wedding day at the 0:40 mark:
While EILE Magazine dismissed Coca-Cola's reasoning for removing the same-sex scene from its ad, Ireland is very staunch when it comes to some social issues. In addition to gay marriage not being legal, abortion is heavily restricted and only permitted to save the life of a mother.
Reaction to Coke's decision has been very pointed on social media:
While Coke may have feared the ramifications of having footage of two grooms in a heavily Catholic country, polls indicate that the vast majority of the Irish people actually support gay marriage.
Featured image via Coca-Cola/YouTube