Do you find the below Dunkin Donuts ad racist?
Apparently a number of people and organizations across the U.S. did over the long weekend. Personally, I don’t get the ad but I also don’t see how it was instantly labelled racist, knowing that the mega donut chain certainly did not intend for it to be.
Although organizations do have to be prudent and play devil’s advocate before launching campaigns, I’m a little bit tired of everybody being accused of racism left, right and centre these days. Obviously Dunkin Donuts did not attempt racial innuendo with this ad.
Interestingly, it was only perceived to be racist in the U.S. The CEO of Dunkin Donuts in Thailand (the market that the ad was originally intended for), Nadim Salhani, reported a 50% increase in donut sales since the ad was released. He was recorded saying to a reporter:
“It’s absolutely ridiculous. We’re not allowed to use black to promote our doughnuts? I don’t get it. What’s the big fuss? What if the product was white and I painted someone white, would that be racist? Not everybody in the world is paranoid about racism. I’m sorry, but this is a marketing campaign, and it’s working very well for us.”
However, after that statement was made, Dunkin Donuts U.S. succumbed to the criticism and released an apology and attempted to have the ad removed in Thailand. They posted the following to their official Twitter account:
“We are working with our Thailand franchisee to immediately pull the ad. DD recognizes the insensitivity of this spot”
The lesson: It’s important to play devil’s advocate and analyze the risks involved with any sort of campaign your organization launches. However, have a backbone and be strong enough to stand up for yourself if the situation – which you thoroughly assessed, analyzed and decided to go with – backfires and causes some social uproar.