Stop homosexuals in Danish grocery stores now! (Beware: irony in the title)

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Stop. Stop. I am trying to prepare a talk about sentiment analysis in the blogosphere and being continuously interrupted by sentiment in the blogosphere!

The talk is about A new ANEW: Evaluation of a word list for sentiment analysis in microblogs where I have developed a word list used to gauge what people feel about companies and products when they write in social media.

But alas, poor Finn. Yesterday I was interrupted by the Marmite viral story: A product I had never heard of was suddenly hot topic in social media. Brits were puzzled/annoyed/outraged by Denmark not allowing a small Copenhagen-based store selling Marmite. The problem was that the product was a fortified food item and strict Danish law for functional foods required approval of such items. Usually you hear people defending “natural food”, but in this case you would hear ordinary Brits affectionately defending a product with supplements.

Now today I am interrupted by another product/company story in the social media. The Danish grocery store chain Irma has gotten into troubles with an ad campaign targeted towards males (such as I, I suppose). It reads (as a fake note from a mother to a father concerning they son Emil):

Hi darling, Alarm!!! Emil wants to go to ballet! We must have done something wrong. Can’t you do some male-stuff. Marching. Make a fire. Should we have a barbecue this evening? When you get to Irma, please take their magazine “Krydderiet”. Kiss.

Two male ballet dancer Nikolaj H??bbe and Alexander K??lpin were not happy when interviewed to B.T. tabloid.

And soon Irma’s Facebook page was hot with comments calling for a withdrawal.

Monday Irma withdrew the commercial and “Gitte”, boss of marketing, regretted deeply their error on Irma’s Facebook page. They did not want to make a political incorrect campaign.

Two female communication experts later called out: Homophobia! Sexual discrimination! Their title was “Antifeministic antiballet-gay-rubbish” and they called the ad “just stupid”, “chocking retarded” and “discount communication”.

The two also argued that Irma is “more than a brand” and invent the notions of “Irmanism” and “Irmanist”: a choosy city dweller with an emotional attachment to the store. They write “Irma […] is not just store. Irma is an institution in the Danish society.”

I usually get my groceries in Irma and (ups!) I thought Irma was just a store. I guess am not an Irmanist.

Marketing boss Gitte’s withdrawal hit a bit back: A few people on Facebook found the ad humorous and disliked the withdrawal, and blogger Anne Sophia Hermansen noted that the humoristic analphabetism was well alive in Denmark.

Previous cases on “male” controversial commercials which played on sex are the old controversial Carlsberg poster and the male underware JBS ads with lightly dressed women. These had indeed racy pictures. Like Irma JBS stopped their campaign, but not before the pictures and the brand had been widely exposed in media discussing the case.

Here Thursday Danish social media mining site overskrift.dk reports “Irma” as the top trend. So it seems that the JBS trick has worked well for Irma.

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One thought on “Stop homosexuals in Danish grocery stores now! (Beware: irony in the title)

    Daniela Balslev said:
    May 26, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    Hi darling. Alarm!!! Irma is not just a store. It is a very expensive store. When you get to Irma, please take their magazine "Krydderiet" , but buy your groceries somewhere else. Kiss.

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