Kiss and create a stir in Kenya

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The controversial kissing scene that was deleted from the Kenya commercial

In January Coca-Cola launched its largest global campaign in almost a decade.

The campaign in South Africa was launched early in March and is known by the tagline ‘Enjoy the Feeling’. While the global creative campaign has the tagline ‘Taste the Feeling,’ which replaces the seven-year-old ‘Open Happiness’ tag they have been using.

With the new campaign came the sugared surge of new commercials. However, Kenya was not too pleased with the ad selected for its TV stations. The Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB), after receiving complaints in April, contacted the advertiser to remove what it deemed an offensive scene.

The scene in question was a three-second shot of two strangers who have a passionate embrace in a library. The film board warned the advertisers to consider whether children would be watching at the time the advert is aired.

The KFCB and the management of Coca Cola in Central, East & West Africa held a discussion about the campaign and agreed that the advert would be edited.

Head of communications at Coca-Cola Southern Africa, Zipporah Maubane confirmed that the advert referred to is not currently being aired in South Africa, as they chose to use a different version to the one being aired in other countries.

“Prior to broadcast in Kenya we received guidance from the KFCB and rating approval in line with their established classifications and our own responsible marketing guidelines and processes,” says Maubane. “However, following the request received from the KFCB, we have made a minor revision to one of the TV advertisements and a new version is currently being aired on the local electronic media channels.”

According to Eva Mbun, corporate communications at KFCB, the commercial was edited immediately. “It has been two weeks since the edited version aired on broadcast stations as required,” claims Mbun. The commercial remains the same, except it is now without the kissing scene. “The new version is without the offensive kissing scenes that violated family values,” she says.

“We’re committed to marketing in line with local guidelines and consumer values,” adds Maubane.

Considering that Coca-Cola can select from the campaign which commercials are run in which country, specifically by its local head office, it is interesting that they chose to delete the scene as opposed to running another ad. The SA version does not include any of the kissing scenes. While Coca-Cola confirmed it had not received any complaint from any other country, they could not confirm where the commercial with the kissing scene is being aired.

The fact that Coca-Cola Southern Africa chose to air a version without such passion and rather focus on the brotherly love bonding contained in the ad speaks for our broadcasters, or does it? Would SA have needed a similar amendment?15

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Cera-Jane Catton
Cera-Jane Catton is a writer and journalist with years of experience in community newspapers, blogging and freelance journalism. She has worked in a cache of capacities, often finding herself behind or in front of the cameras, intentionally and less so. She has been a stunt double in two Bollywood movies, has worked in various capacities on a number of natural history documentaries, and other international productions shot in South Africa. Cera is a former Screen Africa journalist.

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