A bias by an advertising agency has been unveiled in a casting for the Christmas ads for a brand of chocolate, and people on social media are calling out Spotlight UK, the agency, as well as Milka chocolate. The casting call requested no redheads or “overweight kids” for the commercials.
According to Daily Mail, the casting call went out for the role of “Mia” in the advertisement for Milka’s Christmas campaign. The instructions were very specific about how they didn’t want Mia to look. The casting call stated it wanted “no children over 4ft 4 ins, and no overweight children. She must NOT have reached puberty.” They added that she must be “beautiful and angelic.”
In terms of age, they want “Mia” to be between the ages of nine and 12, but if she is on the older end of the range, she must be small and childlike. The description was completed by saying that hair and eye color are not important, “but no red hair.”
This caused outrage, particularly on Twitter, where comedian Kathy Burke said that the casting call is sending a clear message to children with red hair.
“Imagine being the kids that don’t get the job – you’re just not beautiful enough I’m afraid, my darling, now off you pop and be riddled with insecurities for the rest of your life.”
— Ϯஐ รครรคfгครร Ϯஐ (@SassafrasSassy) August 11, 2019
After the casting call breakdown went public, Spotlight published an apology to say that posting did not treat people with dignity, and they are sorry.
“On this occasion we failed to meet our own standards and we’ll be conducting a full review to make sure we get it right in the future. We made a serious error and we should have done much, much better. We’re sorry.”
Mondelez International, who make Milka chocolate bars, stated that they would never approve of such a casting, and that the job done by Spotlight UK did not meet with their standards. They say they are reviewing their relationship with the advertising company to better understand how this could have happened.
Many Twitter users are talking about boycotting the products of the chocolate company and wondering why only redheads are exempt from the advertising campaign. Others expressed outrage that the company would write that hair and eye color don’t matter, and then state that no redheads are allowed.
Some of the people who weighed in identified themselves as casting professionals, saying that they were ashamed of the wording in the casting call.