Cadbury’s ‘war on Easter’ response
FOR years, Cadbury has copped abuse from customers who have accused the brand of carrying out a politically correct "war on Easter".
Angry trolls flood the social media pages of the beloved chocolate maker, furious at the brand for "banning" the word Easter. They say it's political correctness gone mad, pointing out Easter, in Australia is "still a public holiday" as they vow to stop buying Cadbury products.
On social media platforms, Cadbury staff have tried to control "xenophobic" and "hate-fuelled" comments, as the brand is wrongly accused of wiping out the word "Easter" from its lines of eggs and bunnies.
"We don't know where (the rumours) started. It's been twisted in so many ways," says Lainie Kirk, external affairs manager for the brand. She told news.com.au trolls had made up so many stories about the brand, it was hard to keep track of all the lies.
"For years we've been ignoring these xenophobic hateful comments," Ms Kirk said, explaining Cadbury's policy of blocking and hiding hateful, racist comments on their social pages did little to stem the tide of nasty comments.
She said in recent years the trolling surrounding Easter has died down, but the company still deals with other kinds of online abuse.
Recently, the company put together a team of designers and anthropologists to design a new symbol to send to trolls who posted messages of hate Cadbury's social media pages.
The new "Symbol For All", a heart shape surrounded by lines and squiggles radiating out in a spiral, took four days and eight designers to develop.
In the past, Cadbury has employed different methods to try and control the hateful rhetoric on its pages.
"For years we've been hiding and blocking anything offensive. Sadly, it hasn't changed the behaviour of anyone," Ms Kirk explained.
The plan moving forward for the iconic brand is to tackle hateful comments by using the symbol.
As the team of designers convened to design the symbol, the terrorist attacks in Christchurch tragically took place. The symbol was originally set to be released on Harmony Day, but Cadbury decided to delay the release until yesterday.
The image is now being deployed on social media pages as a salve against online trolls. Since its introduction yesterday, Mr Kirk said the image had inspired interesting debate on the company's social media pages.
"Every single day, Cadbury's Australian social media pages are flooded with hateful messages and comments that have nothing to do with chocolate and everything to do with racist sentiment," said Paul Chatfield, director of marketing, chocolate at parent company Mondelēz International.
"As an iconic brand in Australia, we reach a significant number of Australians with our messages, and with this voice believe we have a responsibility to lead by example, which has been the impetus for the creation of this symbol."