Benna has officially released a statement after an advert for the limited edition Red Velvet Milkshake sparked controversy on social media, with some calling it out as sexist and outdated in the way it portrays women.
The advert in question shows a man bored at work, yet when he takes a sip of the Red Velvet Milkshake, he begins to see his female co-worker in a whole new way, implicitly fantasying about her in a sexual manner. Additionally, the theme of the advert being ‘Taste the Temptation’ has only further fuelled the controversy.
Benna has now released a statement, explaining that they acknowledge the problems the advert has caused in the way the public has reacted to it.
“We support gender equality throughout and at no stage would we promote otherwise. People’s opinion has always been at the heart of our brand and will always remain so.”
Their statement also explained that they shall continue to “listen and value both praise and criticism to constantly strive and improve in all our efforts”.
Whilst they did not intend to offend anyone, Benna has stated that they completely understand how it may be interpreted differently.
Amongst the many protests about the appropriateness of the advert were several public figures in Malta, including Nationalist Politician Therese Comodini Cachia.
She noted that “if sex and women are all you can come up with to sell your product then Maltese dairy farmers are certainly in trouble”. Comodini Cachia also highlighted that in 2021, the list of adverts and marketing objectifying women and using sex should be “shortened rather than lengthened”.
Some have noted that this advert should never have been approved and the fact that it was, is the main issue. Citing it as part of an old, ingrained culture where women are utilised to entice men into buying products.
On the flip side, a few netizens have accused these complaints as another example of cancel culture or even calling the complaints “petty” and that when it comes to tackling sexism, there are more important things to focus on instead of the advert.
There have also been calls about hypocrisy when it comes to the attention this advert has garnered instead of other topics. For example, some have stated that if instead, it was a woman objectifying a man, the reaction would not be the same.
Nevertheless, the controversy comes at a time when Malta is especially faced with a new discussion on how women are treated, especially when it comes to sexual harassment and abuse.
How do you feel about the controversy? Let us know in the comments