Heineken pulls beer ad after Chance The Rapper calls it 'terribly racist'
Earlier this year, H&M ran an ad featuring a black boy wearing a hoodie that read "Coolest Monkey In The Jungle." As you might expect, there was an uproar on social media. Celebrity collaborators The Weeknd and G-Eazy cancelled their partnerships with the company in protest. H&M issued an apology and removed the ad, as well as the garment. They said they didn't intend for it to be racist, and that's understandable. Had a white boy been wearing that hoodie, there would have been no controversy. But clearly, something got overlooked. How could anyone look at that ad, and think it's a good idea?
Now history appears to be repeating itself. Heineken released a commercial in which a bartender slides a drink down the bar, passing multiple black people, before landing in the hands of a fair-skinned woman. The tagline "Lighter is better" then flashes on screen. This sparked a huge backlash on social media, for obvious reasons. I mean, the tagline itself is pretty racist, and when you combine it with the visuals, it's even worse. (Unless Heineken's target demographic is white supremacists and neo-Nazi's; if so, then the ad is a huge success.)
Chance The Rapper, one of hip-hop's biggest rising stars, criticized the ad on Twitter, calling it 'terribly racist:'
"I think some companies are purposely putting out noticably racist ads so they can get more views. And that shit [is] 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."
"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."
In response, Heineken pulled the ad from television and YouTube. In a statement issued to Newsweek, the beer company admitted they "missed the mark:"
"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."
Like H&M's "Monkey In The Jungle" hoodie, you can understand the company's intentions, even if you find the racism pretty obvious. Maybe Chance The Rapper could take a second job as Chance The Consultant and approve ads to make sure there won't be a backlash. In his tweets, he speculated that companies were intentionally putting out racist ads, just for the publicity. As that cynical old saying, "all publicity is good publicity." But I don't know if that's true in today's. Would you say Harvey Weinstein has good publicity?