UK

Sochi Sponsor Coca-Cola Apologises For Banning The Word 'Gay' In Social Media Campaign

28/01/2014 11:47 GMT | Updated 29/01/2014 17:59 GMT

Coca-Cola have been in trouble again after the word "gay" appeared to be banned from the Sochi sponsor's customisable "share a Coke" function.

The soft drink giant has issued an apology after its new social media campaign backfired horribly.

The Olympic sponsor's marketing campaign in South Africa wanted fans to share a virtual can of Coke personalised with a friend’s name or message.

But when users tried to enter "gay", the website responded with a message saying: "Oops. Let’s pretend you didn’t just type that."

coke gay

"Hetero" and "Straight" were fine though.

Embarrassingly, Coke was recently implicated in the detention of a gay dissident in Russia, after allowing Olympic officials wearing the company’s sponsorship logo to arrest the gay rights advocate.

The Sochi Winter Olympics have come under plenty of scrutiny because of Russia’s controversial gay rights laws.

Coca-Cola told The Huffington Post UK it is aware the Share A Coke promotion running in South Africa "has generated an unintended outcome."

"The digital version of the Share a Coke promotion did not properly limit the customisation to individuals’ names," a spokesman said.

"As one of the world’s most inclusive brands, we value and celebrate diversity. We have long been a strong supporter of the LGBT community and have advocated for inclusion, equality and diversity through both our policies and practices. Again we apologise for any offence this has caused."

Gay rights campaigners All Out have launched a petition, with 138,000 signatories, to call on the drinks manufacturer to make a statement on Russia's gay propaganda law, even if a boycott is not a practical aim.