Heineken has withdrawn an advertisement after several hundred people went online to accuse the company of subtle or not-so-subtle racism.
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
In the spot, a bartender spots a light-skinned woman preparing to drink a glass of wine. Before she can raise her glass, the bartender grabs bottle of Heineken Light beer and sends it her way. The bottle is seen whizzing past three people with significantly darker skin.
The bottle eventually ends up next to the woman’s glass of wine. Upon arriving, the words “sometimes lighter is better” appear on the screen.
Heineken says the slogan was in reference to the beer being lighter in calories.
Among those criticizing the Dutch-owned beer company, American hip-hop artist, Chance the Rapper who blasted the ad on Twitter.
A black ECD, black creatives, black planners, black account people and black clients would have stopped this dead in its tracks. @ejschultz3 @adage @chancetherapper Calls @Heineken Light 'Sometimes Lighter Is Better' Ads Racist @Heineken_US https://t.co/yE0fz4S21N #diversity
— Cindy Gallop (@cindygallop) March 27, 2018
Others say the skin color of the people involved could not have been a coincidence or that Heineken’s ad was tone deaf at best.
I honestly don't think @Heineken has any ill-intent here… but WOW *really* tone deaf. Considering the cost of producing a commercial like this, I think their board members should issue some sternly worded emails to marketing…
— Mr Frostback (@singram) March 26, 2018
Heineken has since pulled the ad from its YouTube channel and quickly issued a statement.
“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.”