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The Real Story Behind The Hakanoa 'Swap Your Ginger' Ads

The Real Story Behind The Hakanoa 'Swap Your Ginger' Ads

The response to the Swap Your Ginger for Six poster has been overwhelming. Both in a positive and a negative way.

There is a back-story to the ad we agreed to not expose until the initial reaction subsided.

We did not create the ad. Ginger-haired parents of ginger-haired kids concerned by bullying of their own children did. These parents work in advertising, and they decided to tackle the problem by getting it talked about, in the most effective way they knew how. They also wrote the press release that ensured it would be picked up by national media.

Hakanoa Handmade Drinks and The Little Grocer agreed to front the ad and act as a lightning rod for the issue. And boy, were we shocked.

The ad has been a total success as a way of igniting discussion on the subject of bullying of not just red heads but all minorities. Over 10,000 responses in the NZ Herald website alone is testimony to that.

To the outraged redheads and parents of redheads who were offended by it all, we unreservedly apologise. Whether the true agenda behind the ad now helps you hate us less we can only wait and see.

To all those who suggested that offering to swap a dark child for a case of dark ale (or versions thereof) would be just as offensive - yep, they're absolutely right, and that was precisely the point we were making.

We are proud of our products and proud of our role in this ad and its true intentions. Whether we sell more or less of them as a result of the ad is the gamble we took.

The ad campaign consisted of a handful of posters up for a short time around Auckland, and they are coming down.

But the offer to all gingers young and not so young stands. Come in to The Little Grocer up to the end of August and collect your free six pack of delicious Hakanoa Ginger Beer. And we promise you won't have to part with your little ginger to get it.

Here's what the writer of the ad, Dave King of M&C Saatchi, has to say about it;

"Ginger kids take a lot of flack. Sometimes nasty stuff. As you get older, it continues, with everything from blood nut, Fanta pants, ginger balls through to gems like period head But as you get older you also take it in your stride and it doesn’t bother you. You even join in and laugh at terms like ‘Ranga’ short for Orang-utan. And then your 8 year old ginger son comes home having just been set upon because of the colour of his hair. And you want to do something to stop this.

So I want to put out a huge thank you to Rebekah of Hakanoa and Alia of The Little Grocer for putting their not-so-ginger balls on the line to bring this issue to light. They’ve copped a load of flack to help us get this issue raised in the media. Now that people have seen why they’ve done this, I hope everyone gets right behind them and Hakanoa Ginger Beer. They’re on our side.”

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