This story originally ran on PR Daily in May 2013.
The latest in a string of ads big companies have pulled from public consumption this spring is an online-only Mountain Dew ad
in which a clearly injured woman is threatened by a goat in a police lineup.
Yes, that’s really what happens:
Pepsi opted to pull the ad Wednesday after intense criticism from some pretty high-profile commentators, such as “Queen Bees and Wannabes” author Rosalind Wiseman:
Syracuse University professor Boyce Watkins called the ad
“arguably the most racist commercial in history.”
He added: “Of course, in the world of Mountain Dew, every single suspect is black. Not just regular black people, but the kinds of ratchety negroes you might find in the middle of any hip-hop minstrel show.”
In a statement to AdWeek
, a Pepsi representative said, "We understand how this video could be perceived by some as offensive, and we apologize to those who were offended. We have removed the video from all Mountain Dew channels and have been informed that Tyler is removing it from his channels as well."
The ad is the third in a series of ads directed by rapper Tyler, the Creator, who is black. The first
depicts the goat (named Felicia) assaulting the woman, a waitress at a restaurant that has run out of Mountain Dew. The second
shows the goat fleeing from police.
Tyler, the Creator hasn’t said much on the issue, but he tweeted Wednesday that he’d “love to have a convo” with Dr. Watkins.
Meanwhile, General Motors pulled an ad of its own
this week, one for the Chevrolet Trax sport utility vehicle. It included a song about the “land of Fu Manchu” and included the lyrics “ching, ching, chop-suey.” The ad was only shown in Canada and Europe, but the South China Morning Post picked up the ad and called it racist. GM is trying to expand its sales in China.
That flap isn’t unlike the one Ford experienced—and handled pretty well—back in March
. Its ads, created by an Indian advertising firm and not commissioned by Ford, depicted bound-and-gagged women in the trunk of a car.
Matt Wilson is staff writer for Ragan.com.