The Consumer Protection Department of Pest County has fined Coca-Cola for its short-term poster campaign launched in early August, featuring same-sex couples, promoting acceptance. The organization alleges that Coca-Cola violated a section of the Advertising Act which states advertisements that may damage the physical, mental, emotional, or moral development of children and adolescents are not allowed.
Index.hu reported that one of their readers had reported Coca-Cola for their August advertisement campaign and received a reply from the Consumer Protection Department of the Érd District Office, in which they stated that proceedings had been initiated against the campaign of Coca-Cola Magyarország Kft. featuring the”#loveislove” posters.
The governmental organization released a statement saying that they are paying “particular attention to the protection of children and minors and the restriction of advertisements damaging them to protect their emotional and moral development.” They also thanked the help of public reports, which help “in uncovering such advertisements.”
Coca-Cola told 24.hu that they had received a fine of 500,000 HUF (EUR 1591), as – according to the district office – these posters may impair the physical, mental, emotional, and moral development of children and minors. In addition to the fine, the company was ordered to stop using advertising that could harm the development of adolescents. According to the soft drink company, they are negotiating on the next steps and asking for an appeal against the decision.
Back in August, after the Budapest Pride March but right before Sziget Festival, Coca-Cola released an LGBTQ+ friendly ad campaign promoting the acceptance of love between same-sex couples, provoking an outcry over the internet and calling for the removal of the posters. A Fidesz MP even suggested to boycott the company’s products. Coca-Cola responded in a statement 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.
Coca-Cola Ad Promoting Acceptance of Same-Sex Couples Fuels Public Debate
A week later, Coca-Cola changed its #loveislove ad campaign posters to bottles with rainbow patterns, however, the company implied they had not backed down after the criticism, their campaign simply entered its “second phase” and it had been planned this way. However, a petition was launched against the campaign, claiming that the company is “popularizing homosexuality with the aid of advertisements.”