This TV advert featured two women kissing. It received more than 100 complaints

Extra Advert

A TV advert for Extra chewing gum featuring two women kissing was one of the most complained about of the year, Australia’s advertising watchdog has said. 

Ad Standards said the chewing gum advert was the third most complained about advert of 2023, with a total of 126 Australians filing a complaining about seeing a lesbian kiss on TV.

The advert shows two women in a car listening to Carly Rae’s iconic Call Me Maybe. Hearing the song, the car’s driver begins to chew a piece of Extra gum and dance. The other woman takes a piece of gum too and joins in the dancing, before they lean over and kiss in silhouette. 

Complaints about the advert, which were published by Ad Standards, were dismissed after the watchdog found there was no indication that “the kiss was unwelcome or not consensual”.

One person complained: “One female suddenly and aggressively grabs the other girl suddenly and kisses her. There was no consent before this happened.” 

Another wrote: “No product should be used to promote aggression and invading the space of others without permission.”

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“My children should not be exposed to two women kissing on a Saturday morning on free to air TV,” another wrote, while someone else ranted: “We are so sick of seeing same sex relationships being promoted as the norm in public media… please clean it up.”

Ad Standards further declared that the advert “doesn’t contain a depiction of sex” and the kiss was “not highly sexualised or graphic”, as some complaints suggested. 

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Mars Wrigley, which launched Extra gum in 1984, refuted complaints about the advert, which they said embraces “inclusivity and diversity” 

“The idea of the campaign was to show that confidence is embracing yourself and the things that you love. 

“We believe all people are equal. We celebrate diversity and what makes us all truly unique.”

The company added: “While not everyone shares the same views as us, we do believe we have an opportunity to use our platform to celebrate and champion inclusivity and diversity.

“We hope to create a better, more inclusive world where everyone is treated with respect, dignity, and fairness.”

It’s sadly common for adverts featuring inclusivity to receive complaints. In 2022, Samsung pulled an advert featuring a mother expressing her unconditional love for her drag queen son amid a torrent of homophobic backlash.

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