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How American cracker brand ‘Honey Maid’ is tackling Islamophobia

The advert has received widespread praise on social media for challenging mistrust and fear against Muslims

Nabila Pathan

Published: Updated:

The latest advert by the American brand for graham crackers - Honey Maid confronts the issue of rising Islamophobia in the US.

As part of the “This Is Wholesome” campaign ad, now in its third year, the advert titled "Neighbors" features a Muslim woman who gets to know her neighbors.

The 30-second ad shows the Muslim family bonding with their white non-Muslim neighbors over graham cracker snacks. It starts with Muslim mother sharing her initial fear of how others will react to her because of her faith in her new neighborhood: "The first time you go out of your house you are worried: is anyone staring at you?"

"I didn't know anything about her culture. Only what I saw in the news," her neighbor then shares in a voiceover, while she looks through her home's blinds at her Muslim neighbor.

The two women then put aside their fears, using their daughters’ friendship and a little help of snacking on graham crackers to look beyond their differences: "What we share matters the most...Our girls brought us together."

In an interview for campaignlive.com, Katrina Plummer, brand equity manager at Mondelez International, explains what the goal was with this year's message of acceptance as a central theme in the adverts:

"A the end of the day, we are here to sell graham crackers, but in doing that, we want to be part of a positive message. It's a choice, and every company has that choice when they're doing they're advertising. We are seeing a lot of negative imagery out there. Our choice is to be part of positive messaging."

The advert has received widespread praise on social media for challenging mistrust and fear against Muslims generated in particular by the growing popularity of political figures like Donald Trump and Ted Cruz.

According to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Observatory Report on Islamophobia released last year, there is an alarming rise in Islamophobic discrimination across Europe and North America fueled by a homogenous narrative of Islam that is propagated by political rhetoric and the media.

"This is Wholesome" series has attempted to tell the intimate stories of real American families that do not necessarily fit the traditional looking nuclear family often represented by American food consumer brands.

Through the series, the brand has attempted to create an emotional connection with its consumers by tapping into the human struggle for acceptance. Three other titles in the series include: "Little Brother" showcasing a family with an adopted child, "Husband," portraying disability and “Mis Hijos", an advert in Spanish showing a Latino father coming to terms with his son’s sexuality.