Coca Cola is one of the official sponsors for this year’s Sziget Festival in Budapest. Since the theme of this year’s fest is “Love Revolution”, Coca Cola decided to show its support with its “zero sugar, zero prejudice” campaign in Budapest.
What is the Sziget Festival?
The Sziget Festival is a week-long annual music event. This year, it starts on the 7th of Aug till the 13th of Aug. The fest is expected to attract more than half a million people. And, is known to draw high profile, musical guest. According to CNN, the event promotes an “environment where no one can be discriminated or insulted based on their skin color, religion or sexual identity.” This year, the budget for the festival is a whopping 31 million Euros or so, which is a big step-up from last year’s cost being about 27.7 million Euros. This is mainly because, the event has scheduled a lot more international artists to perform at the fest, in comparison to last year. Curious about the line-up this year? Take a look at few of the performances scheduled this year.
Coca Cola’s advert stirs conversations in Hungary:
The campaign features 3 posters with both hetero and homosexual couples enjoying a bottle of coke zero. The slogan reads ‘#LoveIsLove’.
For more musical content, Read: Celebrating 5 female artists who are Lesbian or Bi
The country in divide?
The billboards went up on 4th Aug all around Budapest prompting a political backlash in the country. On Sunday, the Fidesz party’s MP, Istvan Boldog started a boycott against Coca Cola products saying that the campaign is “provocative” in nature. However, this is a little contradictory considering the increasing acceptance of the community among Hungarians. The party isn’t endorsing Boldog’s boycott saying that the citizens have the freedom to choose whether or not they would like to drink Coca Cola. This shows that the government while not in support of the community, is aware of the changing attitudes among its people. According to a Hatter study, conducted in 2018, nearly two-thirds of Hungarians believe that gay people should be free to live as they please. This shows progress considering that less than half agreed in 2002.
Nonetheless, a petition has been launched by unhappy protestors, to remove the posters from subways. Furthermore, more than 25,000 people have signed this petition, since Saturday. This is half of the required goal of 50,000 signatures. The page for the petition reads,
“We start by boycotting Coca-Cola. And in our petition we ask for help in removing the posters as soon as possible and in curbing a homosexual lobby aimed at children, families and society as a whole.”
-As reported by Pink News
Coca Cola doesn’t step back:
Websites in Hungary that are in support of the ruling party such as 888.hu and PestiSracok, have joined the argument, criticising the campaign, saying that the company is promoting homosexual relationships over heterosexuality. For example, PestiSracok complained that “The homosexual lobby is laying siege to Budapest, leaving no space to avoid this.” However, the three adverts released by the company show both types of couples enjoying the drink.
Coca Cola defended its campaign in a statement saying,
“With this we really want to convey a message: our belief that everyone has the right to affection and love; that the feeling of love is the same (#loveislove). Many advertisements – not just Coca-Cola’s – divide people’s opinions: some like them, some do not. Of course we respect the opinions of others that differ from our own. We believe that we are all equal, irrespective of our nationality, religion, gender, age, ethnic background, spoken language, hobbies and opinions. We believe that both hetero- and homosexuals have the right to love the person who is best for them.”
LGBT in Hungary:
MP Boldog even called a boycott for the Budapest Pride Parade, earlier this year. The country has a history of Homophobia banning same-sex marriage and adoptions. Since 2010, The Fidesz party has won 3 consecutive terms. During this period, they have been in conflict with other EU leaders about legalising same-sex marriage. However, in 2009, Hungary legalised registered partnership.
Prime Minister Viktor Orban and his administration advocate the traditional family model, promoting ‘illiberal values’. The reason for this decision, according to the authorities, is a negative impact on the demographics. In a 2016 interview, Orban said that gay people “can do what they want but cannot get their marriages recognised by the state… An apple cannot ask to be called a pear.” – As reported by Reuters.
Despite such notions, a 2017 ILGA-RIWI Global Attitudes Survey shows that about 64% of Hungarians believe that LGB people should have the same rights as straight people.
Source Credit – Advocate, CNN, Gayety, Hungary Today, Independent, Pink News, Queerty, Reuters