- Heineken is pulling an ad campaign with the tagline “Sometimes Lighter Is Better,” the company confirmed to Business Insider on Tuesday.
- On Monday, the rap artist Chance the Rapper tweeted that the ad was “terribly racist.”
- “We missed the mark, are taking the feedback to heart, and will use this to influence future campaigns,” Heineken said in a statement.
Heineken is pulling an ad campaign with the tagline “Sometimes Lighter Is Better” after some critics said it was racist.
The company confirmed to Business Insider on Tuesday that it is not only pulling the ad that inspired social media backlash on Monday, but the entire ad campaign itself.
Heineken only recently launched the “Sometimes Lighter Is Better” campaign. The campaign’s two commercials that had been uploaded to the beer brand’s YouTube page last week were deleted on Tuesday.
Chance The Rapper kicked off the backlash on Sunday, when he tweeted that the commercial was “terribly racist.”
In the ad that Chance posted, a bartender spots a light-skinned woman about to drink a glass of wine. He speedily grabs a Heineken Light and slides it in her direction. The bottle is shown passing three people – all men and women with significantly darker skin – before coming to a halt next to the woman’s glass of wine.
The words “Sometimes Lighter Is Better” appear on the screen.
Others on social media echoed Chance’s sentiment.
“It’s subtle enough to maintain deniability, but noticeable enough to gain publicity,” one person tweeted.
“It’s like blatant ‘subtle’ subliminal racism,”another tweeted.
Two other now-deleted ads from the Dutch brewer’s campaign also featured light-skinned people being offered Heineken Light. Those ads, however, did not show the drink sliding past darker-skinned people.
“For decades, Heineken has developed diverse marketing that shows there’s more that unites us than divides us,” the company said in a statement to Business Insider.
The statement continued: “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.”
Here’s the full commercial that inspired the backlash:
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
— L E F T, PhD (@LeftSentThis) March 26, 2018
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