king cake issue

A censored version of its Facebook post that ran afoul on the social media site's nudity policy (handout photo)

Raw, uncensored king cake babies are not suitable for Facebook advertisements, one New Orleans-area marketing firm discovered to its ire this week. But it's not taking this affront to Mardi Gras tradition lying down.   

King Cake Snob is a competition run annually by Innovative Advertising, a Mandeville-based company, which ranks king cakes from across the region. As part of its usual marketing push, the group tried to post sponsored Facebook ads featuring tiny baby dolls, the totems traditionally found in the classic Carnival treat.   

But the sight of plastic babies wearing nothing but their birthday suits led Facebook to block the ads. The social media giant sent a denial notification to King Cake Snob reading, in part, "(t)his ad isn't running because it includes an image or video depicting excessive skin or nudity."

The message suggested to "remove any images or video that contain nudity."  

"We are shocked that Facebook would censor the king cake baby, one of the quintessential traditions of the Mardi Gras culture," Jay Connaughton, managing partner of Innovative Advertising, said in a post on the site addressing Facebook's decision. "Obviously the folks at Facebook have never tasted the sweet deliciousness of a traditional or filled king cake. If they had, they would understand the deep passion that runs in Louisiana for king cakes of all varieties, and the little babies that live inside them."

The post image in question featured the words "we're back baby" in purple and green lettering, with six plastic king cake babies on their backs, with arms outstretched surrounding the words. 

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King cake baby post

A screenshot of the Facebook post disallowed by Facebook for running afoul of its nudity policy. 

The site's previous Facebook posts often featured the babies. 

The site has since put out a slew of tongue-in-cheek posts and images blasting the decision, including the same image with portions fuzzed out or covered with a block with the text "censored." 

Andrew Alexander, a representative of King Cake Snob, said in an interview that the group is fighting Facebook's decision to censor king cake babies to stand up for local tradition. 

“There must have been some bot scanning for nudity, but I mean come on Facebook, they need more of a human touch here," Alexander said. "It's mind-boggling. We thought it was a joke at first." 

The plastic babies -- symbolizing baby Jesus -- are placed within king cakes. Per a common local tradition, whoever finds the baby in their slice of cake is on the hook to buy the next one.

The king cake baby was also the inspiration for mascots for the New Orleans Pelicans basketball team and New Orleans Baby Cakes minor league baseball team.  

King Cake Snob hosts an annual King Cake "Seal of Approval" competition to honor the top king cakes throughout Louisiana. Previous winners have included Caluda's King Cake in 2018, Manny Randazzo in 2017 and Marguerite's Cakes for the inaugural context in 2016.