The UK advertising watchdog decided after an initial investigation that the advert did not breach its racism code, and that it would not take further action against Cadbury.
“The ASA Council considered that the ad was likely to be understood to refer to Naomi Campbell's reputation for ‘diva-style’ behaviour rather than her race. On this basis the council decided that the ad was unlikely to be seen as racist or to cause serious or widespread offence."
The ASA said it received four complaints about the advert, including one from Operation Black Vote, a major political body who objected to it as a form of crude stereotyping.
New diva in town
Kraft-owned Cadbury ran the advert with the headline ‘Move over Naomi, there’s a new diva in town’. Cadbury argued that the headline was intended to relate to Campbell’s image as a diva, rather than linking the colour of the chocolate bar to the colour of her skin.
However, the supermodel did not agree and stated that the advert was “in poor taste on a number of levels”. She also stated that Cadbury would not have produced the advert had Cadbury employed a greater number of black staff.
US civil rights activist Rev Al Sharpton supported Campbell and threatened Cadbury with a possible consumer boycott, if an apology was not received.
Despite defending the advert, Cadbury apologised to the supermodel and accepted that the advert had upset Campbell and her family.
“Cadbury takes its responsibility to consumers very seriously indeed and we would never deliberately produce any marketing material we felt might cause offence to any section of society.
"It was not our intention that this campaign should offend Naomi, her family or anybody else and we are sincerely sorry that it has done so.”
Campbell has since accepted the apology, with Cadbury stating that they will no longer run the advertisement.