January 17, 2019

Heineken Pulls ‘Lighter Is Better’ Ad After Outcry Over Racism

Heineken Pulls ‘Lighter Is Better’ Ad After Outcry Over Racism


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Heineken removed a series of commercials featuring the tagline “sometimes, lighter is better” after one of the ads was criticized as racist.

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Peter Dejong/Associated Press

Heineken pulled a series of commercials for light beer this week that featured the tagline “sometimes, lighter is better,” after one of the ads was criticized as racist.

The brewer, which became the latest company to face criticism over marketing that appears to support a preference for fair complexions, responded to the controversy on Monday.

“We missed the mark, are taking the feedback to heart and will use this to influence future campaigns,” Heineken U.S. said.

In the ad, a vigilant bartender spots a faraway female patron gazing disappointingly at a wine glass. Quickly, he opens a beer bottle and slides it down the bar.

On its journey over multiple surfaces, the bottle skates past two black women and a black man before stopping at the wine glass. The phrase “sometimes, lighter is better” flashes on screen before the woman, who has lighter skin, inspects the bottle.

Heineken ‘Lighter is better’ ad. Video by Mary Berry

The ad, which appeared in a handful of markets, including the United States, Australia and New Zealand, belonged to a series that was introduced in early March on television and online. Heineken decided to drop the line of commercials on Monday.

The musician Chance the Rapper distilled much of the criticism in a series of tweets a day earlier, calling the ad “terribly racist.”





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