Bottling it – Was Coca-Cola right to remove same-sex marriage clip in Ireland?

Coca-Cola Ireland has faced backlash this week over the removal of a same-sex marriage clip from their new advert.

The supergiant drinks brand took the step to include a same-sex marriage scene in their new global campaign but backed down on its support by editing the Irish version of the advertisement.

The campaign, titled ‘Reasons to Believe’, is running in the Netherlands, Norway and Great Britain (see it here) and features scenes from feel-good moments including the clip in question – two men posing for photographs at their wedding.

A Coca-Cola representative said that the reason the advert was changed for Ireland was because "while civil partnership for gay people is legal, gay marriage currently is not [in Ireland]." They brushed it off as advert localisation.

However, the advert is being shown in the UK where gay marriage has not been legalised in Scotland or Northern Ireland.

By omitting that particular clip in Ireland, it gave the impression that Coca-Cola is not 100% behind gay marriage and risked upsetting and angering the homosexual communities not just in Ireland, but in the rest of the world.

Coca-Cola have been silent on Twitter to the masses of complaints about the clip removal.

At Calacus Public Relations, we would advise our clients to think of the implications of actions which may alienate specific groups of people and to ensure that they keep their message consistent.

Social media now means that you cannot hide from your audiences and we always advise our clients to respond rather than hope that the issue will simply fade away.

It will be interesting to see how, and if, the advert is edited again as other versions appear in different countries. 

By Gemma Mejer