A new Coca-Cola ad campaign promoting the acceptance of love between same-sex couples provoked an outcry over the internet calling for the removal of the posters. A Fidesz MP even announced that he would boycott the company’s products. In its response, Coca-Cola Hungary states that in their eyes everyone has the right to love regardless the gender of the person they choose.
Weeks after the Budapest Pride March, Coca-Cola Hungary has launched its new #loveislove campaign in Budapest featuring posters of same-sex couples with the written caption of “zero sugar, zero prejudice.” The posters first appeared on the billboards at the metro stations but people can also stumble upon the advertisements in other parts of the city.
Pro-government site pestisracok.hu wrote about the campaign on Friday, heavily criticizing the company’s new ads, talking about the forced advancement of the homosexual lobby. An online petition has also been launched on the matter, calling for help to remove the posters “and to stop the homosexual lobby aimed at children, families and society as a whole.”
The Budapest Transport Privately Held Corporation (BKV), the main public transport operator in Budapest, issued a statement on Saturday, in which the company basically rejects to take a stance on the issue by stating they are not responsible for the advertising in the metro’s area. The statement emphasizes that the usage of the advertising space is not BKV’s responsibility but their contracted external partners.
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On Sunday, Fidesz MP István Boldog, in a Facebook post, not only distanced himself from the Coca-Cola poster campaign but announced he would not buy any of their products until the ‘provocative posters’ were removed, asking everyone to do the same.
Liberal news site hvg.hu asked governing party Fidesz what they think of Boldog’s opinion. The party said
Hungary is a free country, so everyone can decide freely whether or not they want to drink Coca-Cola.”
On Monday morning, in a statement, Coca-Cola responded to this weekend’s outcry emphasizing that they believe that “we are all equal, regardless of nationality, religion, gender, age, ethnicity, spoken language, hobbies, and opinions.” They added that they think that “both heterosexuals and homosexuals have the right to love the person they choose the way it is best for them” and they express it in their advertisements.
We believe that in a world based on these values, everyone can live freely and happily. Everyone has the right to love.”
The original #loveislove campaign was created to promote equality and diversity during the Pride month worldwide, but in Budapest, the new posters have been placed all over the city weeks later, right before the start of Sziget Festival. Coke Zero will be available in the festival’s area exclusively in rainbow colors.
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While same-sex marriage is not legalized in Hungary and homosexuality is still a debated subject, surveys show that more and more people are accepting towards the LGBTQ people in the country.