A commercial’s main goal to sell a product, and for better or worse, there are usually more bad ways than good ways to get that job done. Beer ads have historically featured attractive people opting for the sudsy beverage in question over other beverages — ‘Dilly, Dilly!ˆ – which is essentially what Heineken did with one recent TV spot promoting the brand’s low caloric content. Only, the company went about it in a way that many, including Chance the Rapper, thought had racist implications, and the negative fervor was such that Heineken officially pulled the ad from airing on TV and online.
The commercial in question, which features the tagline “Sometimes lighter is better,” takes place at a rooftop party, where an eagle-eyed bartender sees a woman who is about to drink a glass of white wine, and he remedies it by sliding her a Heineken bottle. The idea being that the beer’s low calorie count is comparable to white wine. But it’s what happens between those points that offended Chance the Rapper and plenty of others.
With reggae as the ad’s music of choice, the beer slides down the bar, passing by several people of color and beneath the chair where a black guitar player is sitting, and then arriving at the wine-considering woman, who . According to the many decrying the ad on Twitter and elsewhere, the racism lies in the beer bottle’s journey, where black partygoers were ignored so that a non-person of color could get the Heineken, which would seemingly put the “Sometimes lighter is better” tagline in a completely different context that has nothing to do with calories.
The backlash was felt by Heineken, whose execs decided to scrub the commercial from its multimedia sources. And according to the BBC, the company released a statement apologizing for the ad.
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.
You can check out the offending ad below to see for yourself, while it’s still around.
Though you won’t be seeing that Heineken ad on TV anytime soon, there are lots of big shows that’ll be debuting, so bookmark our midseason premiere schedule to see what’s on the way.