Lesbian kiss in Kellogg ad cleared by ASB

Lindsay Bennett
By Lindsay Bennett | 21 March 2016
Image: Special K 'Own It' video

Kellogg recently launched a multimillion-dollar campaign encouraging women to own their flaws and focus on what they can change rather than what they can’t.

In the spot, a range of women are shown in different situations; a bride, a woman with a disability, women playing sport, and more. The accompanying voiceover states: “That’s a lot of women, looking in the mirror, wanting to change something: boobs, skin, arms, legs, hips, hair." The voiceover then states: “Let’s be perfectly imperfect”. A very quick sequence of images follows, including a lesbian couple kissing.

Most have deemed the campaign a move in the right direction for women’s advertising, however not everyone agrees - a complaint was made to the Australian Standards Board (ASB) regarding the same sex kiss.

The complainant says the positive tone of the ad seemed ok but it was "ruined" by two women kissing, and the ad is "an attempt to normalise this behaviour".

“I object to the kiss. Must we have the lesbian message shoved in our faces all the time? My 7 year old boy doesn't need that happening in his lounge room. The ad should consider the wellbeing of the younger generations of children and families as well as everyone else.”

Kellogg responded to the complainant saying, the scene appears for less than one second and is in keeping of the positive and celebrative tone of the advertisement.

“We respectfully submit that whilst some individuals may be offended, the advertisement does not depict the scene in a way that vilifies a person or section of the community, including on account of religion or sexual preference.

“A scene briefly portraying two women kissing, in the context of an advertisement that celebrates the reality of female diversity, cannot be regarded as discriminating against or vilifying consumers," says Kellogg.

The board said while it acknowledges that some members of the community may be uncomfortable with images of women kissing, the scene is brief and does not lead to any further intimacy.

The ASB dismissed the complaints, adding: “The board considered that in this instance a brief depiction of a woman kissing a woman was not sexualised and in the context of depictions of confident women and loving relationships this scene was not gratuitous or inappropriate.”

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