Easter is just around the corner and we’re already stocking up our cupboards with choccy treasures. However, it’s safe to say you probably won’t be tucking into Waitrose’s ‘racist’ Ugly Duckling Easter egg.
Up in the God Tier of supermarkets, Waitrose boasts the fanciest food around. Even managing to top Marks & Spencer when it comes to luxury offerings, those who want to pay £4 for a pot of humous can usually be found in Waitrose. If you’re looking for egg-travagant Easter chocolate, the high-end supermarket is probably a pretty good shout to find one.
Waitrose showed off a cute ‘Trio of Easter ducklings’, in white, milk, dark chocolate. Even if milk chocolate is most people’s standard choice, appealing to white and dark chocolate lovers was a pretty smart marketing move. A less smart move was the name of the dark chocolate duckling.
As the packaging showed, the white chocolate ducking was called Crispy and the milk one Fluffy, leaving a few raised eyebrows at the dark chocolate duckling being called Ugly:
Crispy, Fluffy and Ugly – trio of Easter ducklings at #waitrose . Ugly is the dark one on the right. Overheard women saying “this is not right” , I agree, doesn’t look good at all. Thousands of other options… why #ugly????? pic.twitter.com/bw5iFCcPuz
— livia a. aliberti (@livia_aliberti) March 7, 2019
I dunno why racist is in inverted commas, surely Waitrose knew that people would be offended by this? https://t.co/uep5ST872I
— Aliyah (@4liyah) April 8, 2019
Others have pointed out that the ducks were inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s The Ugly Duckling, which featured a brown-feathered duckling eventually emerge as a beautiful swan. Critics slammed the internet for being too politically correct and said the ducks should’ve been left as is:
Please tell me this didn’t happen, has this country gone mad? Who would see this and think anything other than they named it after the ugly duckling from the story 🙄. Come on people! https://t.co/Z4yaYgqyep
— Sarah Cheek (@S_Cheek44) April 8, 2019
The snowflakes are at it again! I suppose if the white one had been labelled ‘ugly’ that would have been OK. https://t.co/2kX9VJSaOG
— Renoir (@Renoirz64) April 8, 2019
Can't duck the PC police… https://t.co/REk8ZO4LR3
— Tony Pizza (@trivialtony) April 9, 2019
Waitrose soon removed the ducklings from sale and gave them a redesign. A spokesperson for the supermarket said, “We are very sorry for any upset caused by the name of this product, it was absolutely not our intention to cause any offence. We removed the product from sale several weeks ago while we changed the labelling and our ducklings are now back on sale.”
I don’t think someone in product development is actually a blatant racist, but it’s a concern that no one picked up on this potential blunder throughout the marketing process. If you want to bite the heads off these ducks, you still can. The Trio of Easter ducklings is now back on Waitrose shelves, with each of the three now nameless.
[Featured Image: Waitrose/Twitter Livia A. Aliberti]