Every few months, a racially offensive advertisement emerges from Asia and makes the rounds in America, to howls of disgust. It's happened again this week, as a Chinese laundry detergent brand called Qiaobi released a spot—airing on TV and in cinemas, according to Shanghaiist—in which a black man gets shoved in a washing machine and comes out looking … quite different.
It's been almost three years since the infamous racist backlash to the Cheerios commercial with the interracial family, and brands are still getting heat when they broadcast images of diversity. But these days, the brands always seem ready for the haters—and as often as not, they use their vitriol against them.
This GapKids ad, posted to Twitter on Saturday, ignited claims of passive racism from some viewers, who objected to what they characterized as a black girl being used as an armrest by a white girl.
Thought provoking, exceptionally well executed and controversial, MTV's satirical "White Squad" is one of the best social-issues campaigns in recent memory.
Dunkin' Donuts in Thailand has just seen a 50 percent bump in sales on the heels of a new print, TV and Facebook ad campaign, and the CEO of the local franchise is crowing about the sugar rush. So what if it's all because of a controversial ad?
For Volkswagen, one of the most celebrated Super Bowl advertisers of recent years, it's been a tough 24 hours. After the company released its 2013 Super Bowl spot (posted below) on Monday morning—showing a white Minnesota office worker speaking like a happy Jamaican—it was met with mostly favorable if not particularly ecstatic reviews. (You can't make "The Force" every year, after all.) But soon, there were rumblings that it might be racist, or at least seen as such. Among the critics was New York Times columnist Charles Blow, who said Monday on CNN that the fake accent was like "blackface with voices." The criticism has become more prominent, if not necessarily more widespread, in the hours since then. In response, VW has said it talked to 100 Jamaicans during the research process, and has now added this statement:
Britain's Advertising Standards Authority, which has killed advertisements based on single complaints in the past, gave a pass to Channel 4's "Bigger Fatter Gypsier" campaign for the TV program Big Fat Gypsy Weddings, despite receiving 316 complaints a
Inappropriate Halloween costumes are par for the course these days. But one student group has created posters protesting costumes that play off racial and ethnic stereotypes, such as Mexican banditos and terrorist Arabs. "We're a culture, not a costume," says the headline on each poster. "This is not who I am, and this is not okay." The campaign was created by Ohio University's Students Teaching About Racism in Society (STARS), which hoped to spark a dialogue about race and insensitivity. It seems to have worked, with various media outlets reporting on the posters, and many an anonymous commenter trolling out to bash the work as whining from liberals who can't take a joke. The 10 students involved say they've been overwhelmed by the response and plan to roll out a licensing system for other schools to use the posters in exchange for a donation. Five full-size posters after the jump.
Some people are on the warpath about Harmony Korine's new branded short film "Snowballs," backing Native American-inspired fall clothing from fashion line Proenza Schouler.
Oh, those uncivilized black people—when will they get with the program? Perhaps they should try Nivea's grooming products! That's the message of the "Re-Civilize Yourself" Nivea ad above, as a black man brandishes the large-afroed, disembodied head of his former, uncivilized self and prepares to give it the old heave-ho.