Ritz Crackers released a heartwarming holiday ad displaying inclusion with an interracial gay couple and transgenderism.
Although much progress has been made towards LGBTQ+ visibility, the reaction from many conservatives who denigrated the snack commercial demonstrated there is still work to be done.
The only thing shocking about the Ritz Crackers commercial is that RITZ FREAKING CRACKERS has the balls to represent and normalize the lgbtq community in a holiday commercial. Seriously, it's 2020, we should've been there already. pic.twitter.com/fM77YeqDj2
— ¡Señor Pantleg! (@SenorPantleg) December 7, 2020
Ritz introduced their “Where There’s Love, There’s Family” campaign this festive season with a commercial that began with lonely individuals yearning for a connection.
The vignette included a man texting his mother “Can we talk?” and waiting for a response that didn’t come; a child in a homeless shelter; and a grandmother who was unable to celebrate the holidays with family.
But the ad turned hopeful by showing a man who applied lipstick before embracing his lover—who was seen earlier texting his mother—and welcomed him into a home with other LGBTQ party guests.
The lonely girl shared a Ritz Cracker with a homeless man sitting across from her at a table. And the grandmother served a tray of the crackers to friends at what appeared to be a retirement home.
The heartwarming ad concluded with a voiceover that said:
“The holidays are about spending time with family.”
“Whether it’s the one you’re born into, or the one you make.”
You can watch the full commercial here.
Far-right conservatives and hate groups were angered by the ad and flooded the company’s YouTube post.
One person called the ad, “disgusting,” adding:
“Why are you promoting homosexuality? That’s nasty.”
“For shame Ritz, I’m throwing all my crackers out. You’ve permanently lost a customer.”
Commenting on Ritz’s YouTube page is currently disabled.
According to Pink News, The American Family Association (AFA)—recognized by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group—was offended by the commercial. They denounced the man “putting on lipstick like a woman and effeminately clinging to another man to brainwash children and adults alike by desensitizing audiences”.
The Christian fundamentalist organization continued:
“I am extremely disappointed that Ritz is refusing to remain neutral in the cultural war.”
“Ritz is pushing the LGBTQ+ agenda on families with its most recent commercial.”
“People who are already confused about their gender identity should not be encouraged to embark on a dangerous and unhealthy lifestyle.”
AFA quoted Dr. Michael Brown—host of the AFA documentary In His Image: Delighting in God’s Plan for Gender and Sexuality—to further illustrate their fear of what “damaging” effect Ritz’s commercial would have on teens today.
Brown was quoted as saying:
“There is so much confusion in our society today.”
“Same-sex attraction, same-sex marriage, gay Christianity, transgender identity, what’s right, what’s wrong.”
AFA pleaded for their supporters to speak out and added:
“Supporting the transgender agenda instead of remaining neutral in the cultural war is just bad business.”
“If Ritz Crackers refuses to remain neutral, then Christians will vote with their pocketbooks and support companies that do.”
However, a good majority of social media users disagreed with AFA and praised Ritz.
RITZ CRACKERS JUST AIRED A HEART-TUGGING LGBT CHRISTMAS COMMERCIAL ON ABC AND I CAN'T STOP SOBBING BC AT THE END THEY SAID "WHERE THERE'S LOVE THERE'S FAMILY"
— Tony Morrison 🏳️🌈 • ABC News (@THETonyMorrison) December 4, 2020
Just saw a really cute gay commercial by ritz crackers and it melted my heart 🥺
— 𝙴𝚖𝚒𝚕𝚢 (@emgrebz) December 8, 2020
Awww the Ritz crackers commercial with the gay couple was so cute! ❤ anyone mad is clearly homophobic. News flash gay people exist too.
— Powerpuff Boy 💛 (@itsLiterallyHim) November 25, 2020
I will definitely be purchasing a box of Ritz crackers, due to the gay interracial couple on the commercial I just saw!
— Hogroyp (@hog_farmer) December 7, 2020
The Martin Agency, which produced the commercial, was praised for its casting that featured diversity with two men of color, transgender and non-binary extras.
The agency’s creative director, Sara Kuhs, said:
“During casting, it became apparent to us how closely linked the actors’ personal experiences were to those they were portraying, making our message about inclusion and belonging that much more palpable and powerful.”
The company stated they were on a mission to “help make the world a more welcoming place” and announced they collaborated with the It Gets Better Project, Hispanic Star, and Invisible People to donate $50,000 to support communities in need.
“The It Gets Better Project aims to uplift, empower and connect LGBTQ+ youth by providing access to a collection of inspiring stories of resilience and determination, as told by members of the LGBTQ+ community.”
“They envision a world where all LGBTQ+ youth are free to live equally and know their worthiness and power as individuals.”
GLAAD President Sarah Kate Ellis praised Ritz and noted:
“The holidays can be a particularly difficult time for LGBTQ people, as many are afraid to travel back to non-affirming homes or may feel isolated from their chosen families.”
She added the campaign was “a powerful example of how brands and media can step up and tell LGBTQ stories not just during Pride Month, but all year round.”
Ritz has yet to respond to the backlash for its heartwarming ad.