Guacamole producer Holy Moly has been under fire for a new ad campaign that presents its luxury dips as "Columbia's purest export". The "guac so good, it should be illegal" has a struck a nerve with Instagram commenters who claim the ad is "offensive" and "upsetting", allegedly perpetuating harmful stereotypes.
In an attempt to flex the freshness of its "export", the brand missed the mark by employing drug culture language and imagery, insinuating a connection between the South American country and illegal drug-based activity. But while we often see brands court controversy, guac is the last thing we'd expect to cause contention.
As part of its ad campaign, Holy Moly hit the streets, 'dealing' out its goods to the general public, with a promotional video depicting so-called "guac dealers" getting busted in mock police raids. Text reading, "a wave of Columbian export has hit the UK," alerts audiences to its latest drop, but it seems the questionable ad has left a bad taste in some peoples' mouths.
As audience responses on social media were less than savoury, the brand tried to defend its campaign in a comment on the now-deleted Instagram video stating it had no "intention to offend" and that the aim of the campaign was to "challenge the stereotype in a playful manner". In response, one user commented that it in their opinion "it's not 'playful' if it's punching down".
Accused in one comment of "perpetuating harmful stereotypes about Columbia", it seems the brand's move to celebrate the origin of its product has majorly backfired. While Holy Moly has defended the ad, stating that its intention was to highlight why it sources from Columbia due to the freshness of its produce, the implications of connecting the country to drug culture seems far from celebratory.
However, seemingly in response to negative feedback, the brand has now wiped the ad from its Instagram page (where the initial backlash took place). Still, at least Holy Moly can take some solace from the fact that it's not the only brand to have recently got caught up in controversy.