South Africa: Eskort Advert - Making Adoptees the Butt of a Tone-Deaf 'Satirical' Ad Leaves a Bad Taste

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opinion

How did Eskort, a major household brand, priding itself on its positioning as a wholesome, family-oriented company, react when accused of 'othering' adopted children? Instead of withdrawing its advert, and apologising publicly to the adoption community, it trivialised their concerns. This in a country where adoption is under threat and the lack of acceptance of adoptees an ongoing source of pain.

Like many people in South Africa, I grew up eating Eskort bacon, polony and Vienna sausages. As a homegrown brand that has been around for more than 100 years, it has become a household name that can rightly claim to be one of SA's favourites. And, until recently, I would have agreed. This changed, however, when I received a rather disturbing message from a member of the adoption community who shared one of Eskort's recent television adverts, developed by their new agency, Metropolitan Republic.

In the ad, twin boys are giving their brother a hard time, telling him, "Mom and Dad didn't want you to know, but that's the story of how you got adopted." They go on to ridicule him for not looking like them because he's "adopted"! The young boy, who is the butt of this abuse,...

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