It turns out nowhere is safe from the fallout of a viral marketing stunt, not even the House of Commons during a deadly pandemic.
When Weetabix shared a picture of their cereal covered in baked beans on Twitter as part of an advertising campaign, the internet went predictably and tediously wild.
Despite being a disgusting combination (we’re not getting into an argument about this, it’s gross), suddenly we were bombarded with beans-on-bix content as brand after brand (and also the official account for Israel) piled into the replies.
Turns out it also caught the attention of Tory MP for Kettering, Philip Hollobone.
But rather than scroll on, or give it a little retweet with the vomit emoji, he apparently decided it would be a great topic for “light relief” in the House of Commons, where apparently there was nothing more pressing going on.
Turning to leader of the house Jacob Rees-Mogg, Hollobone described the discourse around the tweet as “one of the debates that has been dividing the nation this week”, adding that it was “perhaps even more divisive than Brexit has been over the years”.
The immediate run-up to the Brexit referendum saw an MP, Jo Cox, murdered by a far-right terrorist who disagreed with her support for remaining in the European Union.
During the session, held weekly to give MPs a chance to ask for a Commons debate to be held, Hollobone asked: “May we have a debate on breakfast cereals and their contribution to a healthy diet, so we can all arrive at the shared position that, with whatever it is served, Weetabix is a great British breakfast cereal [fact check: while Weetabix is produced in the UK, it is actually an imitation of Australian cereal Weet-Bix], fully worthy of promotion.”
Somehow managing to include the cursed phrase “nanny’s homemade marmalade”, Rees-Mogg took the opportunity to respond and really ran with it.
He said: “As they used to say ‘Weetabix are unbeatabix’. My personal preference, if I were to eat Weetabix, is not with baked beans – which I’ve always thought are absolutely disgusting.
“There was an advert, well, I’m sorry if I’ve upset the makers of baked beans, there was a saying which is desperately politically incorrect nowadays – so I hope [shadow Commons leader Valerie Vaz] will forgive me – their advertising slogan: ‘A million housewives every day pick up a can of beans and say Beanz Meanz Heinz.’
“But when I was a child this was corrupted to: ’A million housewives every day pick up a can of beans and say: ‘Yuck, throw them away.’ I’m sorry – that has always been my view of baked beans.”
In a week where thousands more people have died of Covid-19 – 114,851 people in total since the start of the pandemic – many have pointed out that the House of Commons probably isn’t the time or place for Weetabix banter.