Beechworth Sweets ad banned due to golliwog

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 27th July 2016

A television advertisement has been banned by the Advertising Standards Board for including a golliwog doll.

The Beechworth Sweets Co. was advertising its regional Victorian lolly shop in a TV ad with its logo containing a golliwog used in the ad. The logo was animated slightly so the golliwog doll waved in the commercial.

Advertising Standards received a complaint that the ad was racist because of the golliwog. A complaint claimed to be shocked to see it used.

“In 2016 the image of a golliwog on television is completely inexcusable,” the complaint said.

“I truly believe casual racism like this is so damaging to the community and this commercial should never be aired again,” the complaint said.

Beechworth Sweets defence

Beechworth Sweets responded to the complaint by saying its logo was created when the business was opened it 1992 and was done in an old fashioned style to depict the Victorian era of the historic town of Beechworth, where it is located.

“The Beechworth Sweet Co. believes the logo represents childhood memories, eg. toys, pets and old fashioned confectionery,” the business said.

Beechworth Sweets also said that it sells Gollies, saying that the doll is no longer referred to as Golliwog.

“Every sale I have made of a Gollie has been because it provokes positive memories of their childhood love for their Gollie and the wish to pass that love to a child, or they collect them as part of their own happy childhood memories,” Beechworth Sweets said.

Advertising Standards however decided to ban the commercial saying although many white people might have fond childhood memories of the doll, this should not override a black person’s feelings regarding the racist element behind it.

“The Board noted it has no jurisdiction over the design of the company logo itself but considered that by using animation to highlight the characters in the logo, and by drawing the viewer’s attention to one particular toy, the golly, the advertisement uses an inappropriate racist symbol,” Advertising Standards said.

Beechworth Sweets says it never intended the ad to be racist

Beechworth Sweets responded to the decision by saying it has suspended the ad whilst it considers possibly requesting the decision to be reviewed.

“It has never been our intention to be racist,” Beechworth Sweets said.

“The intent of this advertisement has always been to share our love of sweets.”

A bit of history…

The golliwog was created by American-born English cartoonist Florence Kate Upton in the late 19th century, and originally appeared in children’s books. The cartoon later became a popular toy for children.