It isn't every day you can accuse Snickers of bad taste.
The makers of the classic candy bar have dropped their latest commercial from the airwaves and removed it from their Website after a couple of gay rights groups complained that the 30-second Super Bowl spot packed a homophobic message along with its promises of chocolaty peanut goodness.
"It was never our intent to offend anyone," Masterfoods USA spokeswoman Alice Nathanson said in a statement Tuesday. "As with all of our Snickers advertising, our goal was to capture the attention of our core Snickers consumer." (All of whom can still catch the video on the Internet, just not at snickers.com.)
"Feedback from our target consumers has been positive," Nathanson continued. "In addition, many media and Website commentators of this year's Super Bowl commercial lineup ranked the commercial among this year's top 10 best."
"We know that humor is highly subjective and understand that some people may have found the ad offensive. Clearly that was not our intent."
The commercial in question featured two burly guys working under the hood of a car who accidentally kiss because one can't resist taking a bite of the Snickers bar that the other fellow is enjoying. After they lock lips, they quickly pull apart and encourage each other to do something "manly" to compensate. The solution: They both rip out a patch of chest hair.
Masterfoods parent Mars Inc. had been planning to build a whole campaign around the ad, which encouraged viewers to go online to vote for their favorite alternate ending. Other options besides the impromptu manscaping session included the two John Does drinking motor oil, fighting with wrenches or being joined by a third mechanic who asks, "Is there room for three on this love boat?"
All of which were unacceptable according to the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and the Human Rights Campaign.
"Mars needs to apologize for the deplorable actions of its Snickers brand," GLAAD president Neil Giuliano, who has found himself ultrabusy dealing with Isaiah Washington's verbal slip-up a couple of weeks ago at the Golden Globes, said in a statement.
Another GLAAD spokesperson said Tuesday that the commercial's "kind of prejudice was inexcusable."
The HRC, for one, took major offense at a video posted on snickers.com showing football players hootin' and hollerin' at the onscreen kiss.
"This type of jeering from professional sports figures at the sight of two men kissing fuels the kind of antigay bullying that haunts countless gay and lesbian school children on playgrounds all across the country,'' HRC president Joe Solmonese said in a statement.
When asked if the New Jersey-based Masterfoods was planning to issue a public apology, Nathanson said. "We've done what we can."
Cyd Zeigler, cofounder of Outsports.com, a Website for gay sports enthusiasts, told USA Today—which ranked the Snickers spot number nine on its top 10 list of the best Super Bowl ads of the year, that he didn't see what the issue was.
"I just don't see how a couple of mechanics pulling out chest hair because they kissed is offensive," he said."
And just when you thought no one was offended by Sunday's halftime show, it turns out that some critics are up in arms over what they thought was a "rude, crude" shadow caused by Prince's guitar as he performed "Purple Rain."
The rocker's phallic silhouette "looked embarrassingly rude, crude and unfortunately placed," New York Daily News TV critic David Bianculli wrote.
"Well, duh," went the response from some more musical corners.
"Of course it is [phallic]," Rolling Stone contributing editor Gavin Edwards told the Associated Press.
"If people want to be hypersensitive, they can be hypersensitive," he said. "Those trombones are phallic, too. What are you going to do?"
A spokesman for the NFL, which produced the halftime show, also made light of the shadowy controversy.
"We respect other opinions, but it takes quite a leap of the imagination to make a controversy of his performance," Greg Aiello said. "It's a guitar."