Tens of thousands of people have signed a petition expressing anger over Cadbury’s sexually provocative Creme Egg advert.
The advert features a same-sex couple sharing a Creme Egg with their mouths.
The petition on CitizenGo says the scene is “disgusting and off-putting”, and “irresponsible” in exposing children to sexualised content.
It also accuses Cadbury of trying to offend Christians by airing the advert in the run-up to Easter.
“By choosing to feature a same-sex couple, Cadbury’s are clearly hoping to cause controversy and escape criticism, by claiming that any objections must be rooted in ‘homophobia’, but members of the LGBT community have also expressed their dislike of this campaign,” the petition reads.
“Cadbury’s should not be seeking to hide under cover of LGBT rights to conduct a campaign which sexually objectifies individuals. If the couple in question were heterosexual, the advertisement would likely be prohibited, given the sexually explicit and graphic nature of the kiss.
“Cadbury’s are well aware of the religious significance of Easter. Therefore, they are trying to cause gratuitous offence to members of the Christian community during the most important feast in their calendar.”
The petition asks the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) to withdraw the advert.
The ASA said that although it had received 40 complaints since the ad first aired on 4 January, it had not broken any advertising rules and would therefore not be withdrawn.
A spokesperson for Cadbury said: “Cadbury has always been a progressive brand that spreads a message of inclusion, whether it is through its products or brand campaigns.
“We are proud of our Golden Goobilee advert which celebrates the many ways that everyone can enjoy a Cadbury Creme Egg.
“To illustrate this and showcase the joy our products bring, a clip of a real life couple sharing a Cadbury Creme Egg was included in the advert.”
The advert has also triggered outcry in the US, where over 30,000 people have signed a pledge to boycott Cadbury products.
“Cadbury makes a huge push to sell its Creme Eggs in America during the Easter season each year. A portion of each sale goes to help finance Cadbury’s social agenda that has nothing to do with chocolates and candies,” said One Million Moms, the campaign group behind the pledge.
“If U.S. sales are strong, Cadbury just might bring this ad to American televisions for your children to see. Taking a stand now will send a strong signal that their eggs are cracked up.”