Sara Lee is in the business of selling wholesome baked goods with family-friendly marketing (just try to get the upbeat “nobody doesn’t like Sara Lee” jingle out of your head). Its social media feed is full of brightly colored dishes that would look right at home on a Pinterest board perkily titled “Sooo Yummy!”
So it’s perhaps understandable that the brand was a bit bewildered by the deluge of raunchy comments it has received after “Saturday Night Live” aired a sketch this weekend that depicted the show’s host, British pop star Harry Styles, as a social media manager for the brand who had gone rogue and posted some seriously NSFW content to the (fictional) Sara Lee accounts.
On the show, Styles plays a young employee who fesses up to his bosses that he’s been accidentally mixing the corporate accounts he’s tasked with maintaining with his personal ones to disastrous (yet hilarious) effect. He tells the brass, played by SNL cast members Cecily Strong and Bowen Yang, that his mix-up led to Sara Lee leaving naughty comments on Nick Jonas’s Instagram.
Among his other corporate missteps was captioning a photo of Texas toast with a similarly inappropriate message: “Feeling really depressed after threesome. What was supposed to be a fantasy ended up more rejection. Must get rid of toxic in community.”
Viewers responded to the sketch by quoting his comments on Sara Lee’s actual Instagram posts. (We’d quote a few, but most are not fit for a family publication.)
As for the company’s official response? Basically, it was [insert shruggy emoji], at least at first.
Sara Lee Bread, which did not respond immediately to a request for comment, told the Advocate that it was taken aback by the comments that showed up after the NBC show aired and, at first, found it a little confusing.
“We didn’t know about or participate in the creation of the skit so as you can imagine, waking up to all those comments threw us for a bit of a loop,” the company said in a statement.
It said it hid some of the comments until it could determine what had happened, and said that going forward, it would be monitoring them to make sure they met Instagram’s standards. And the company, whose roots go back decades, made an effort to distance itself from the R-rated stuff, but still show that it’s really pretty chill about the whole thing. “While the explicit jokes in the skit do not align with Sara Lee Bread’s brand, we know SNL pushes the envelope for laughs and are taking it all in stride,” the company said.
This isn’t the first time that SNL has depicted a brand in a way that probably caused panic in a boardroom. In 2017, the show aired a sketch that imagined an installer from the Safelite AutoGlass company as a teenager’s creepy stalker. Safelite, unsurprisingly, wasn’t thrilled with the attention.
A few weeks later, the show had “quietly removed” the online video, per reports.
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