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Brand Strategy Drag ASA

McCain takes down saucy ad starring drag artist Baga Chipz


By John McCarthy, Opinion editor

June 30, 2022 | 3 min read

Frozen food brand McCain has made post-launch edits to its latest campaign after being dubbed by social media viewers as inappropriate for children.

BagaChipz McCain

The Baga Chipz ad has been pulled by the brand

The chip brand earlier this year announced drag queen Baga Chipz as its creative director as part of the ‘Anything Goes’ campaign. Chipz was drafted to bring a unique style to midweek dinners, with McCain marketing director Mark Hodge saying her ”iconic and fearless attitude perfectly encapsulates the ‘Anything Goes’ philosophy.”

But anything apparently doesn’t go. The post breached 50 complaints to ad watchdog the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). Most were focused on it causing offense and having a negative impact on children.

The spot, now removed from social, featured several sexual innuendos that could be considered inappropriate for the likely target audience. However, it’s worth noting that much of the vitriol directed at the campaign was due to the inclusion of a drag artist. McCain’s edits are not an admission that there was any wrongdoing in working with Chipz, but it has embraced that sexual innuendo might not best pair with consumers of potato smiley faces.

A McCain spokesperson said: “As a brand that has long championed diversity and inclusion, we are proud of our recent ‘Anything Goes’ campaign featuring drag queen Baga Chipz as our new creative director, in which she provides tips for enjoying midweek mealtimes.

“However, in one of the featured videos, we appreciate that the use of innuendo alongside the Potato Smiles product could be seen to be inappropriate. No matter how popular Potato Smiles may be among our young adult audience, we recognize this is a product predominantly enjoyed by children. As a result, the video will no longer feature as the campaign continues into July.”

Below is the launch video for the campaign – however, this is not the sexual innuendo spot that accumulated the complaints.

There has been a trend for brands to embrace ’dragvertising,’ which many marketers see as helping to support LGBTQ+ artists and causes. But drag and queer ads are often met with resistance, most recently John Lewis’s spot showing a boy in a dress destroying a house (which was banned on an unrelated technicality) and’s ’Epic Dance Off’ featuring a man in hot pants and heels (the most complained about ad for years after it ran).

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