Ginger Child for Ginger Beer Offer Has New Zealand Seeing Red

M&C Saatchi ad is panned

Rebekah Hay, the founder of New Zealand's Hakanoa Ginger Beer, seems none too pleased with the global negative publicity generated by an ad campaign concocted by M&C Saatchi that jokingly offers to swap your ginger-haired kid for a six-pack of the ginger product. It all began when adman Dave King's 8-year-old son was teased and bullied at school because of his red hair. King's in advertising, so his instinctive reaction was to devise a nonsensical campaign that, while perhaps intended as an "ironic" bit of reverse psychology, was interpreted by a substantial portion of the population as mean-spiritedly offensive. A print ad reads, "Let's be honest, no one really wants a ginger. So if you've got one, bring it in ad we'll swap it for something you really want, a delicious six pack of Hakanoa Ginger Beer." (I wonder how King's kid feels now when Mom and Dad bring him along to the grocery store. Happy and secure, I'll bet.) Hay has tearfully apologized in the wake of an outcry so intense that she asked the police for assistance. Now, if Marmite made the same offer, there'd be zero complaints. Folks with ginger kids would line up for miles for the chance to take home a few cartons of the much-beloved yet currently scarce yeasty spread. Via Copyranter.

@DaveGian David Gianatasio is a longtime contributor to Adweek, where he has been a writer and editor for two decades. Previously serving as Adweek's New England bureau chief and web editor, he remains based in Boston.