Earlier this year, we released an article highlighting the fact that redheads are shown in many TV commercials. Many suspect redheads are chosen for two reasons:
1. Advertisers showcase redheads because of the color red’s association with attraction.
2. The other is that redheads’ rarity sparks reward-seeking in our brains, which are finely-tuned to sense novelty.
Maybe the Australian beer company Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) wanted to attract people to their beer by highlighting redheads in their ad, but it didn’t go as planned.
CUB recently released an ad (it has now been pulled) openly mocking redheads. It was created by Clemenger BBDO Melbourne, Australia.
A couple disturbing things stuck out to us while watching. First, they make it seem like it’s a bad thing to have a redhead child when saying, “Surprising families for generations.” The other offensive line was, “We need your help to stop the spread of the gene.”
Our co-founder, Adrienne Vendetti, told Vice’s Munchies, “It’s definitely a negative ad. We’re sure it makes Australian redheads feel like outcasts and that is not right. Imagine a young redhead who is uncomfortable being a redhead, maybe gets bullied at school for his or her red hair and sees this ad? That’s terrible! It also made us realize how redhead bullying is far worse abroad than it is in the States. A beer company [here] would never create an ad like this.”
When the ad launched, The Advertising Standards Bureau in Australia was soon overwhelmed with complaints. Many labeling the ad as offensive.
The panel stated, according to SmartCompany, “The majority of the panel considered the suggestion that the genetic trait needed to be stopped was a negative one, and considered that the most reasonable interpretation of this line was that having red hair was undesirable. The majority of the panel considered that the inclusion of this line in the advertisement was vilifying of people with red hair as it was likely to incite ridicule of people with red hair.”
CUB disagreed with the panel but pulled the ad anyways. “The advertisements simply seek to associate the launch of the Rusty Yak Ginger Ale product with redheads in our community in an affectionate, light-hearted and humorous way by linking the hair colour with the ‘crisp and zingy Rusty Yak gingery flavour’ as stated in the advertisements,” CUB said in a statement.
Adrienne goes on to share with Munchies, “We hope they do [apologize], not just for redheads but for everyone who is different in some way,” she said. “Companies should be promoting individuality, not bullying.”
We definitely think CUB should issue an apology to the redhead company.
What are your thoughts on this ad?