Another day, another insanely inappropriate ad that's got the internet in an uproar. Today's addition of terrible ideas for ads comes from beer company, Heineken, who is using the slogan "Lighter Is Better" right now. Maybe you can guess where this is going.
The ad has been circulating on Twitter, and features a bartender spotting a pretty, racially ambiguous but light-skinned woman looking disappointed in her beverage. He has an idea. Heineken! He opens a bottle and sends it towards her. It passes three dark-skinned people before reaching her. No white people are featured. It lands in her hands, and we're informed, Sometimes lighter is better.
Watch this Heineken commercial where a fair-skinned bartender slides a beer past 3 dark-skinned Black folks (2 women 1 man) to a racially ambiguous fair-skinned woman, and when the drink reaches its desired destination, the words “sometimes ligher is better” pops up on the screen pic.twitter.com/ExIuqN6wOi— LEFT🏴 (@LeftSentThis) March 26, 2018
Some folks thought the controversy was overblown, until they watched it:
I thought it was a reach at first but that Heineken commercial is low key racist.— Daniel Vargas (@DanielVargas530) March 27, 2018
Though most were willing to call it what they thought it was from the beginning: Racist.
This Heineken light beer commercial is definitely racist. What idiots do they have approving this ad? Fire that person. And the ad agency who developed it should be fired. Period. No excuse for this. I watched the ad. It's racist.— Helen Ehrenhofer (@helenehrenhofer) March 26, 2018
Even worse than the (not so) subtly racist Heineken ad is the taste of their beer— Ben Epstein (@epsben) March 26, 2018
But then someone considerably more famous took notice of the situation.
Chance the Rapper is pretty vocal on Twitter about issues of social justice, and his attention was drawn by the accusations of racism against Heineken. But he kind of had a different take on it.
I think some companies are purposely putting out noticably racist ads so they can get more views. And that shit racist/bogus so I guess I shouldn’t help by posting about it. But 😂 I gotta just say tho. The “sometimes lighter is better” Hienekin commercial is terribly racist omg— Chance The Rapper (@chancetherapper) March 26, 2018
Im not saying boucott them or go off im just noticing how often it happens and I think they baiting consumers and tweeters and freelancers and shit. Like I didnt wanna tweet about it so bad 😂😂 but its like how can u not— Chance The Rapper (@chancetherapper) March 26, 2018
It's an interesting point that it does seem like there are a whole lot of racist ads out there these days, especially considering how much people are ready to tear them apart on social media. Could it be part of a larger strategy from shameless companies who just want their brand out there? Even if it's associated with something horrible?
Soon after Chance's tweets, Heineken apologized and removed the ad from TV and the Internet, according to Newsweek.
They also issued an apology in a statement, writing, “For decades, Heineken has developed diverse marketing that shows there’s more that unites us than divides us. While we feel the ad is referencing our Heineken Light beer—we missed the mark, are taking the feedback to heart and will use this to influence future campaigns.”
And then the story quickly became about Chance battling Heineken, which he also found annoying:
You missed the entire point, I was pointing out that alot of these marketing agencies are doing willfully so we overreact and tweet about it, and you write an article and tweet, and we all say their brand name 50 times. Thats the first sentence of my shit. And u didnt mention it https://t.co/qgrNfrfGRX— Chance The Rapper (@chancetherapper) March 26, 2018
Lots of folks agree that Heineken might just be that shameless:
Same thing Starbucks does when they purposely write your name wrong on the cup...pppl bug out, pay on their socials...free marketing....It's called consumer psychology— 😬 (@kinjapthooo) March 26, 2018
Companies selling poison using poisonous marketing strategies 🤦🏼♂️ complex took an L here.— Lew Murph (@lewism333) March 27, 2018
Wow. I can’t believe all the replies claiming that you are reaching with this! It’s like blatant “subtle” subliminal racism. The beer passes 3 Black people in a row & heads straight to the light complexioned Latina, w/ 3 white guys in the background as the slogan comes up. HELLO— Cecilia Martin (@CcPrincess20) March 26, 2018
It’s subtle. Most people wouldn’t notice that in a 30 second commercial. But that is racist. “Lighter is better” as it passes 3 black people. The phrase is mad suggestive because of the context it gives in the visuals.— Faith Elizabeth (@Faithitupp) March 26, 2018
Companies are going to have to come up with a new strategy for inflaming everyone, because we're starting to catch on. Maybe make something that's actually good? That'd be revolutionary.