A new Coca-Cola advertisement running in Hungary that include images of same-sex couples kissing and holding bottles of Coke is facing backlash from anti-gay Hungarian politicians and conservative activists. The ads can be seen at train stations and elsewhere in the nation’s capital, according to several local media reports.
Coke launched the “Love is Love” campaign in Hungary days ahead of the progressive Sziget festival, which is scheduled to kick off in Budapest this week. The posters contain slogans, such as, “Zero Sugar, Zero Prejudice.”
István Boldog, a conservative member of the Hungarian parliament and a Fidesz party leader, has called for a boycott of Coca-Cola products until the ads are removed.
The country currently recognizes legal unions for same-sex couples, but the Fidesz party and its leader, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, oppose the legalization of same-sex marriage.
An online petition calling for a boycott and for local officials to ban the ads has reached about half its goal of 50,000 signatures. There is speculation that the many of the signatories are fake.
“Until now, large companies in Hungary have not advertised with openly gay content and messages. Do not be illusory, this is a test,” a translated version of the petition states. “If Hungarian society accepts this, there will be more and more steps. Posters, commercials, films, rainbow products, etc. And as we continue to slide down the slope, it will become increasingly difficult to stop.”
Cola-Cola has no intention of removing the ads and responded to criticism of the campaign: “We believe that both heterosexuals and homosexuals have the right to love a person the best they can.”
“In our advertisements, posts, and messages, we express the principles we represent, and thus our belief in equality between people.
“We believe that in a world based on these values, everyone can live freely, happily. The right to love and be loved belongs to everyone.”