NewsKmart pulls 'HAM-MAS' bags after Jewish group's backlash

Kmart pulls 'HAM-MAS' bags after Jewish group's backlash

The retail chain released an unfortunate packaging for the Christmas ham.
The retail chain released an unfortunate packaging for the Christmas ham.
Images source: © Wikimedia Commons
6:02 AM EST, November 10, 2023

Kmart Australia, a department store chain under the Wesfarmers group based in Melbourne, stumbled over its holiday advertising campaign. A ham bag imprinted with a regrettable message became a scandal grist for the social media mill. Australian Jewish organizations reacted strongly.

The packaging of this Christmas food item sparked bewilderment. This bag, adorned with Christmas tree motifs, bore the words "Merry HAM-MAS" on one side and on the flip side, instructions on how to maintain the freshness of ham.

Facing a complaint by the Australian Jewish Association, the management of the Kmart retail network swiftly withdrew the contentious packaging. The owner issued an official apology, but the unsavory aftertaste lingered.

Australian Retail Network's Faux Pas

The organization detailed its concern regarding this PR blunder on social media, specifically on platform X. A picture of the controversial product featured prominently in the post.

"We courteously suggested" they rectify the error and abandon the promotion of this project online "due to its inadvertent resemblance to Hamas, a prohibited terrorist organization in Australia and numerous other countries" - penned by the Jewish members of the Australian association. "While it may potentially provoke amusement, it truly leaves a bad impression. We suspect that a certain product manager may have put the company in an awkward position" - ASŻ comments.

"We made a mistake and sincerely apologise. As we designed this product, we clearly failed to consider all the ramifications" - stated on the Kmart website.

This Australian company isn't the first brand to weather such a reputation storm. Even the most seasoned marketing and advertising experts can occasionally make promotional mistakes. These errors can often cost a company millions of dollars. Yet, what's even more damaging is when the company becomes a temporary punchline for customers and rivals.

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