A racist advert for a competition run by Carlsberg in Hong Kong somehow slipped under the noses of the world press… and Carlsberg itself, who thought all trace of it had been removed. Good job their PR team is incompetent as well as tone deaf.
A poster for a competition – whereby Hongkongers can collect Carlsberg bottle tops for a chance to present the “Man of the Match” award at a Premiership Game – invited hopefuls to “Make it! Don’t Fake It!”.
Great life advice, apart from the fact that someone in the Hong Kong Carlsberg office thought it wise to illustrate this with images of an Asian dude dressed up as various well known Premiership personalities, with no sparing of “black face”.
The characters include skullcap wearing Arsenal goalie Petr Čech, frizzy-haired Man U Belgium Marouane Fellaini, fist-wielding England Captain Wayne Rooney, and, most notably (for all the wrong reasons), black AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli and black Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge.
Despite the black face characters being pulled from the promotion after complaints from fans and competition closing on Sept. 30, a webpage showing the original poster was in fact on the Carlsberg site until this afternoon when Coconuts HK reached out to the brand for a comment.
Steve Deng, Carlsberg Asia Corporate Affairs Director, said that was an oversight as the promotion had been removed from all other channels.
Speaking about the competition in general, Deng added, “A Man Of The Match ad concept, which contains references to some recognizable football moments, was originally made tongue in cheek with a reference to all races because we want to reach out to everyone who loves football. After we received feedback in August that it was interpreted by a very small number of consumers as having a politically incorrect meaning – which in no way our intention – we’ve immediately removed the ad from our social media sites to avoid any further unintended connotations. It has not been actively promoted.”
The competition continued with all the characters apart from Balotelli and Sturridge.
Tongue in cheek, foot in mouth, or mush in head? You decide.