Krispy Kreme ANZ apologises after offensive campaign spot

Krispy Kreme ANZ has been forced to apologise following concerns its new campaign, developed by creative agency Abel, featured a highly offensive racial slur.

The campaign, made in collaboration with Limehouse Production, features four spots that celebrate sports events, birthday parties, life milestones and routine family catch-ups, with doughnuts replacing the letter ‘o’ in words like footy and movie.

However, one spot shows doughnuts replacing the ‘o’ in congrats, briefly becoming ‘coongrats’ and then ‘cooongrats’.

Mumbrella approached the agency for comment, and asked whether the offensive gaffe was noticed during production. Mumbrella is yet to receive a response, although it is understood the client is being made aware of the concerns.

Late Tuesday afternoon, Krispy Kreme’s marketing director, Olivia Sutherland confirmed to Mumbrella that it would remove all ‘congrats’ related ads.

“We never intended to offend any person or group. We are sorry for the oversight and have removed all congratulations related ads from the campaign,” she said in a statement to Mumbrella.

Anti-racism campaigner Dr Stephen Hagan told Mumbrella: “As the originator of changing the Coon Cheese brand to Cheer, it’s an absolute disgrace that in 2023, someone thinks they can come up with an… ad like that on a product that is very popular with people of colour.

“The word has put my family and my people through so much trauma and it’s just disgraceful to see this happening.”

Ad Standards told Mumbrella the body has not received any complaints about the campaign, which is rolling out across social, digital, OOH and in-store media.

The video is no longer available on YouTube.

Ostensibly, the campaign encourages Aussies to pick up a box of doughnuts to make their favourite life moments even sweeter.

Sutherland said: “Our latest campaign is set to remind consumers that our ‘made fresh daily’ doughnuts are perfect for sharing occasions whether it be a birthday, a family movie night, watching your fav sports team or simply getting your mates together for a backyard BBQ, a dozen Krispy Kreme is sure to sweeten the moment.”

Simon Fowler, co-founder and creative director at Abel, said the agency had “a blast working in collaboration with the talented team at Limehouse” and its “Krispy Klient”.

“Doughnuts aren’t necessarily the first thing people think to bring, so there’s a real opportunity here to prompt awareness of just how much joy a box of Krispy Kreme can bring in some of those much-loved social get-togethers,” he continued.

In May, Abel was appointed to lead Krispy Kreme ANZ’s local creative, and Aimee Cutajar, head of marketing at Krispy Kreme ANZ, said at the time: “They asked the right questions and came back with some brilliant creative.”

Other assets:

The birthday execution

The footy execution

The movie night execution


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