Viral Christmas hatred for loving commercial J&B

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Every year there are Christmas commercials in the field of Marketing the Rainbow to go viral. Two years ago it was Doritos Mexico with a sweet story about a father asking for advice on Reddit about how best to accept his gay son. Last year, the Norwegian Post informed us that Santa actually goes to men. This year, Diageo’s J&B Whiskey gets the credit with a story about family, love, and acceptance.

I wrote a while ago about haters and trolls on social media, and how you should not look at the comments because these people often hide behind pseudonyms and yet they are without reason. But in the context of my research I find it interesting to see where such a wall going on


It is History of Doritos it is the most viewed video on my YouTube channel with 260,000 views, and 500 comments, with about 4,000 likes and 291 dislikes. “What does this have to do with Doritos?” was the most common criticism, but apparently those people have never heard of branding – or diversity and representation. But the hate wasn’t too bad, except for the few trolls who vowed never to buy Doritos again.

The Norwegian Post brought us “When Harry met Santa” in which it turns out that the imaginary North Pole is attracted to men. The ad commemorated 50 years since homosexuality was decriminalized in the country. The hatred was not too bad, although many Americans thought it was a great shame to challenge the image of that, well, imaginary man who always spoils children.

J&B – “She”

This year the honor fell to J&B Whiskey from Diageo in Spain. It is the best selling blended whiskey in Europe and #3 in the world, according to Diageo.

“At J&B, we want everyone to be able to celebrate Christmas without anyone being left out. But unfortunately many people from the LGBT+ community feel uncomfortable or rejected in their own family and cannot celebrate with them. In fact, for 77% of trans or non-binary people, the family was the most difficult environment in their situation.” (Source: Ministry of Equality. Study on the needs and demands of non-binary people in Spain. 2022.)

Not much is said in the 3 minute video – the images tell the story – but I added subtitles in English and this seems to have caused the Americans in particular to visit me and I had about 177,000 views in two weeks.

First take a look at the story, which develops in a surprising way. The music is a cover of the song “She” by Aznavour.

A sweet and remarkable story about family, love and acceptance. However? Ana is played by trans actress Ella Di Amore, who recently joined the media platform ExtraDigital spoke about how she hopes to help support LGBT+ rights and visibility during her own transition.

Here come the trolls

In addition to the many viewers, there was also a record number of comments, around 3,000. Not only do I always leave the possibility open to respond, but I also moderate that cascade of responses. That was quite a job for me, because the comments, especially from an American angle, were not tender.

I had to remove or even report about 700 comments to YouTube for extreme hate, and in some cases incitement to terrorism and child abuse. I have no idea what YouTube does with this, but it takes a lot of time and effort: blocking a troll seems to be easy with 2 clicks, but it doesn’t always work in practice.

By the way: since YouTube no longer shows the number of dislikes, it is difficult to determine the ratio like: dislike. According to my dashboard, there were 5,202 likes and 909 dislikes, but the Chrome plugin that reveals this figure shows more than 10,000 dislikes.

what happened


That the commentators bravely said that they will boycott the brand from now on was the most innocent thing. J&B (Justerini & Brooks) have been around since 1749 and have been the supplier of every British monarch since the coronation of King George III in 1761. This does not guarantee survival in the present day, but a boycott cry of one. hater have even less effect than an organized boycott of certified hate groups like the American Family Association or One Million Moms – but even those usually have the opposite effect, see My Article “Boycott those brands!”.

But then the hate.


First of all, many trolls struggle with CSR (corporate social responsibility), more specifically diversity and inclusion. In this context, people often say “Get woke, go broke”. They do it Gillette that got pretty wet with theirs a few years ago toxic masculinity – but no company has ever failed because of social involvement.

Then the question is asked again, with great anger, what does all this have to do with whisky. Answer: lifestyle, CSR, diversity, brand awareness and, as far as I’m concerned, also an important element in the journey from representation to respect.

And then we have the jokers who think they are original by quoting the 2018 Stonetoss cartoon (“Burgers?”). That was fun for five minutes, but now it’s out of date. I released about 50. If you want to be fun, be original.

Comic: StoneToss


It goes a notch further: the grandfather is accused of it groomingthat from Wikipedia, under the article with the title that tells you “LGBT grooming conspiracy theory” is described as: “the systematic use of positive LGBT education and campaigning for LGBT rights as a method forchildren’s preparation’ (befriending and building an emotional bond with a minor and sometimes with the child’s family, to reduce the child’s inhibitions for sexual abuse purposes).” They added that this has been increasing “since the beginning of the 2020s, among conservatives and members of the extreme right, primarily in the United States. These accusations and conspiracy theories have been characterized by experts as unfounded, homophobic and transphobic, and as examples of moral panic.”

Moral panic, it happens to you!


But it gets worse. The grandfather is accused of pedophilia. Now I don’t need to go into this any more, because whatever the family relationships are, Ana is 26. She looks young (after all, doubts about gender identity often arise before or during puberty ), but J&B was smart enough to avoid this discussion (actress Ella Di Amore is also 26 years old). And come on people, there is no sexual element in this.

And last but not least

“China and the Russians are laughing their ass off and they’re going to beat us.” “No one in the army cares about such things it degenerates to defend”. “Tolerance is not a Catholic value”. “The grandfather is also trans and has lived his life with regret, so now he wants to ‘unite’ his grandson.” “Child Mutilation”. “Specialized propaganda“. “You must not encourage mental abnormalities.” Jesus saves and judges us all. “Persons in transition commit suicide in 40% of cases”. And, of course, the resulting distrust in comments about “pink wash“, “queer bait“in”pandering“. And the rest.

Screenshot from J&B Whiskey Christmas 2022 commercial.

Screenshot and commercial J&B.

But fortunately there were also many positive comments, with many people saying they had to cry with emotion. My compliments to J&B!

I wonder who will be the next victim of the haters…. Happy New Years!

Alfred Verhoeven is in the final phase of his PhD research Marketing the Rainbow. Previously posted on Frankwatching From B2C and B2B to B2G and G2G (oh, and G2C), Gay humor in ads, Haters and trolls on social media, 5 weird LGBT ads, 5 videos that went viral, From representation to -respect, The rules of target group segmentation, Get woke, go broke, Storytelling & the LGBT+ consumer: 4 inspiring cases, Netflix: target group segmentation or pinkwashing and Forbidden fruit: the (gay) advertisements that do not did not go unnoticed.

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