As a whole, the retail industry comes in at number one with a collective $19.345 billion. With so much money going into advertising, it’s no wonder companies are desperate for a return on their dollars.The challenges of putting out a great catchy advertising campaign leads advertising agencies to push the entertainment envelope. Just check out these commercials too sexy for TV.
Some of the top advertisers for 2014 were as follows: Protcor & Gamble Co ($3.134 billion), Comcast Corp (2.188 billion), General Motors ($1.96 billion), AT&T ($1.792 billion) and L’Oreal rounds out the top five with $1.585 billion.
Big corporate entities apply pressure to marketing companies in hopes of getting the most edgy marketing campaign distributed out into a very competitive atmosphere. With so much competition trying to grab the attention of consumers, it’s no wonder mistakes are made. And I mean big mistakes! Sometimes, the lack of better judgment ends up costing both the big corporations and the big advertising companies who create the ads. You’ll see a terrible commercial every now and again and think to yourselves, who are the idiots that approved and made that piece of garbage?
And sometimes, you’ll see a commercial that causes your jaw to drop and your eyebrows to furrow. You just saw a racist commercial and look around you as if you were the only one who saw this disaster. Soon, a commercial attempting to promote a product turns the company itself into a target and creates a fire storm of controversy. These are 10 Of The Most Racist Commercials Ever Made.
10. Jell-O – Chinese Pride
Jell-O, Jell-O, Jell-O…I can only shake my head at this one. There is some context here as the commercial is from another time period where people assumed racism was acceptable. But not us. When you feature a Chinese baby with an announcer talking in a thick Chinese accent while speaking English, it is going to tread on numerous issues. The baby struggles to eat the Jello because naturally, it is using chopsticks.
But when the mother comes over delivering a spoon with the announcer confirming how much more advanced Western culture is than Chinese culture, well, you get the picture. This commercial is so racist it oozes of what not to do. But at least their excuse was that it was made in 1958 when advertisers were just too dumb to know better. The Chinese music at the end solidified the insanely racist spot. They went for spoof but they landed on bust.
9. Coca-Cola – Arabian Nightmare
Coca-Cola is a well known brand which markets to the entire world. They have been advertising for years prior to, during, and after the Superbowl. So when they pitched a strange ad featuring an Arab man with his camel who sees a giant bottle of Coke in the desert, you sort of tilt your head to the side in confusion. This commercial, meant to be fun and interactive, then featured a series of cowboys, motorcycle riders, and a regular who’s-who of Americana figures all of whom had to race to the one giant bottle in the desert.
Fans were supposed to vote on who would win the race to the Coke bottle. One issue, the Arab man and his camel weren’t on the ballet. Was the man too stupid to compete? Was he seen as insignificant because he only rides camels and everyone else has advanced technology? Let’s just say the commercial was squashed because the Arab man essentially had no reason to be in the commercial in the first place and it was an odd idea to begin with.
8. Kentucky Fried Chicken – Quelling African Enthusiasm
So what do you do if you’re an Australian cricket player stuck in a crowd of Africans? That is the dilemma faced with this odd Kentucky Fried Chicken commercial. You have to be a pretty unintelligent advertising executive to come up with this scenario in the first place. What happens next is even more boggling. The nervous White Australian surrounded by tribal-pounding Black faces reverts to handing out buckets of fried chicken to quell his fears and their potential anger. And thank goodness he had the colonel’s bucket, because the Africans accept the gift of fried chicken and all of a sudden everyone is friends.
Clearly, this commercial was pulled faster than a fat kid eating a bucket of fried chicken and KFC definitely had egg on their face.
7. Mountain Dew – Dew it!
What happens when Mountain Dew partners up with someone they assume is a young hip talent? Well, you get one of the most racist commercials that ever aired. Mountain Dew decided to partner up with Tyler, the Creator to film a series of commercials. Tyler, the Creator is a young Black filmmaker who thought he was creating a series of comical ads featuring a goat. The only problem is the entire commercial series mocks racial stereotypes; in particular, his own race.
The goat is seen fondling a waitress as he speaks with a thick Southern accent in a restaurant. The woman suffers a number of injuries and abuse by the goat and is trying to pick him out of a line-up filled with African-American men. The final insult was probably the goat seeing dancing cooked chickens in his head while he was attempting to attack her in the first place. Clearly, this was not the best series of commercials ever shot and was complete “amateur hour.” Mountain Dew quickly killed the spots when immediate flack popped up all over. It also affected Tyler’s career and understandably so. Two words: Hack Job.
6. Burger King – A Little Spicy Mexican
Burger King wanted to promote their new Texican Whopper. They came up with an interesting way of selling the burger. They feature a tall Texan who is looking for a place to live. The Texan arrives at a home where a small Mexican dressed in a stereotypical miniature wrestling outfit, complete with mask and cape, opens the door to welcome him in. The Texan moves in and the two make a seemingly great team. The Texan even lifts the little Mexican up in the air to help him reach things and put dishes away. Seriously, how did they not know this wasn’t racist from the start? To completely solidify the racist spot, the announcer comes on and states, “The Texican Whopper, the taste of Texas with a little spicy Mexican.” Yes, they actually said little spicy Mexican when they used a small Mexican wrestler in the commercial. Bravo Burger King. Bravo.
5. Chicago-Lake Liquor Ads – Down Right Racist
So, there is racism because you made a booboo and did a stereotype that didn’t turn out well, and then there is racism because you are a complete moron and basically are making fun of an entire race of people. No matter which way you put it, the Chicago-Lake Liquor ads are definitely racist. In their series of three racist ads, they display unrelenting sarcastic wit at the expense of urban Black men. The first spot features a White suburbanite shopping at a liquor store with his comfy 1980s Cliff Huxtable sweater when he overhears a Black man talking to a friend conversing over his alcohol purchase.
When the White man gets to the register he is now purchasing the exact alcohol the Black man was getting. The cashier then alerts him his alcohol is on sale. The suburbanite replies, “That is pimp tight,” (in his best urban wannabe tone) and gives her a fist bump with a smile. His smile showcases a full set of gold teeth more associated with high-end rappers and pimps. That was just one of the atrocities. There is another one in which two white collared executives are conversing, using ethnic/street dialogue as if they are mocking urban Black men as an annoyed Black female co-worker looks on. Their big tag line is, “At Least The Prices Are For Real.” So they basically trot out white people poorly imitating Black culture and that is their big promotional game. Eesh.
4. General Motors – Chop Suey Commercial
When is a car commercial ad racist? I will be happy to explain. Chevrolet was working on a throw-back ad for their car, the Trax. So naturally, they get everyone dressed up as if it were the 1930s and have them jump into a car playing the song, “Booty Swing” by Australian musician Parov Stelar. Why is “Booty Swing” such a poor choice? Well, the lyrics go, “Now, in the land of Fu Manchu, the girls all now do the Suzie-Q, Clap their hands in the center of the floor, saying ching-ching, chop suey, swing some more.” The song is based on Oriental Swing by Lil Armstrong, which also refers to Japanese geishas who want to “swing like Americans.” Oh, and by the way, the character Fu Manchu itself is regarded as racist in China so the whole thing is a mess. Chinese activists were not amused and the spot was pulled.
3. Volkswagen – Jamaican Accent
This 2013 Superbowl Volkswagen commercial was seen as racist due to a White Minnesota-born office worker who opts to speak with a heavy Jamaican accent. Despite all the difficulties and negativity at work, he spouts one Jamaican saying after another with his thick accent, guiding the way toward a happy ending. Whether the company is struggling or they are late for work, he has the ease and laid back tone of a Jamaican smoking a blunt on the beach.
Now, whether this commercial is racist or not, I really don’t care. People were offended for obvious reasons. The fact that the commercial ends with the announcer saying, “That’s the power of German engineering,” makes the commercial completely stupid. That much I am sure of. I still have no idea what German engineering has to do with a White guy from Minnesota speaking with a heavy Jamaican accent. File this one under “Epic Fail.”
2. PopChips – Ashton Kutcher’s Stereo Issues
Ashton Kutcher plays four different ridiculous characters in the commercial in which he makes fun of stereotypes. However, he takes a lot of flack for his portrayal of one character in particular: Raj, a 39-year-old Bollywood producer. Now, this banned commercial isn’t so much racist as it is stupid. But looking beyond the stupidity, whether you’re playing one character or four in a stereotypical manner, a lot of people are going to get their panties in a bunch.
With society overly sensitive, it just doesn’t make sense to do an ad portraying stereotypes in a negative tone. And Ashton’s portrayal of the Indian is awful at best. Word of advice, Ashton, keep the role play in the bedroom with Mila.
1. Twin Lotus Herbal – Black Herbal Toothpaste
This is our number one racist commercial. I prefer to let the commercial do the talking because it is that bad. But I’ll add text for those who can’t access YouTube. First off, you have a kind Black man looking to help a young girl that loses her yellow balloon. But what they have him do next just boggles the mind. He shimmies up this pole as if he were going up a tree. He gets the balloon and slides down the pole as if he were a primate. It is the most ridiculous commercial ever made and goes beyond racist.
The fact he is going for a yellow balloon is another absurd attempt at humor as if the man would rush for it like it was a banana. What’s worse is that when he goes to give the girl her balloon (he just busted his butt getting), her mother grabs the daughter in fear of the Black man. The mother sweeps her quickly away and rushes off, leaving him alone with the balloon. He heads home and it is revealed he has numerous balloons in his room as if this happens with regularity. He goes to sadly lie upon a strange bed before he and his bed are morphed into a toothbrush with dark Black Herbal Toothpaste on top.
Yeah, can’t make this kind of racism up.