'Unity Bar': Cadbury faces backlash after releasing chocolate bar meant to promote diversity in India
A British candy company is facing backlash after advertising a new, multiflavored candy bar meant to promote diversity in India.
The controversy started when Cadbury, the world's second-largest confectionery brand, announced its "Unity Bar" earlier this month. The chocolate bar, released in honor of India's Independence Day on August 15, features a mixture the company described as "dark, blended, milk and white chocolate all under one wrap."
The limited-edition bars were sold for 72 rupees — or about $1.01 — in honor of the 72nd anniversary of India's independence. Ogilvy, the global advertising agency that worked on the campaign with Cadbury, said the candy was a "powerful message of unity."
"India is a diverse country, with people of different castes, creed, languages, regions, religions. Everyone living together, but not always with love," Ogilvy said in a post on its website.
However, some people felt the campaign missed the mark.
"Congratulations to Cadbury for solving racism," New York Times restaurant critic Tejal Rao tweeted Thursday. Other social media users seemed to have similar thoughts.
The announcement did receive some praise — such as for Cadbury's decision to use many of India's 22 official languages in its advertisements — but the bar's overall presentation became a source of outrage.
Some even compared the campaign to "Live for Now," a now-infamous 2017 Pepsi commercial starring Kendall Jenner that was accused of appropriating social justice movements. Pepsi later pulled the advertisement, and Jenner admitted to regretting her involvement.
"This is as absurd as Kendall Jenner fighting police brutality with a Pepsi," one Twitter user said of the candy bar.
Some social media users were more comical in their criticism, sharing GiFs, jokes and other insights about the chocolate brand.
Cadbury, founded in 1824 in Birmingham, U.K., is owned by Mondelez International, which also owns brands such as Oreo, Triscuit, Philadelphia cream cheese and Trident gum.