Heineken’t Do That
Fifty years after MLK’s death and we are still living in a country where racism is at its height. Sure, bathrooms are no longer segregated, bus seats are a free-for-all and we had a black president, but if I hear one more person say, “Racism doesn’t exist, we had a black president!” I’m going to lose it.
While overt racism has decreased, passive racism is bigger than ever. While I also agree that sensitivity is at its height and words and messages (especially in politics) are misconstrued so we can point fingers and call people “losers” and “racist,” you can only be so ignorant.
I understand that people are educated differently based on demographics, economic class, religion, etc., but as a multi-BILLION dollar company, you have the resources to hire open-minded, educated employees who are not ignorant (dumb) or one-sided, which is why I believe that Heineken’s new ad, “Lighter Is Better” was not an “Oopsies, didn’t think this one through,” rather it was a deliberate attempt to subliminally spread the message our president has encouraged for too long – strip our nation of the colors that make it so vibrantly beautiful and give privilege to all things white.
Video Source: Youtube.com
For those of you living under a rock, Heineken recently released a new series of ads for their light beer, with the tagline “lighter is better.” If this tagline was the only flaw, I would give Heineken the benefit of the doubt, but the underlying messages are what really disappoint me the most.
A light-skinned woman sits at a bar and is dissatisfied with her beverage choice. A light-skinned (creepy-looking) bartender with (creepy) binoculars spots her dissatisfaction and slides a Heineken her way. On the voyage to this damsel in distress, the bottle passes two black gentlemen and a black woman before it makes its way to the white woman’s hand, to which the white bartender winks in satisfaction and “sometimes, lighter is better” flashes across the screen…followed by an ironic “open your world” slogan. Help me, Jesus.
While I’ve often praised Heineken for their open-minded approach to advertising, I can’t help but feel saddened in this ad. Whether deliberate or ignorant, it’s not what our country needs right now.
As someone who works in media, I’m always double checking to make sure the messages I’m putting out are inclusive and positive. I now challenge the big dogs out there to do the same, especially when working with multi-billion-dollar companies who have the power to influence millions. Your words, the images you put across the screen, they matter, so rather than getting a few cheap click-throughs on your ad, think of how you can use your power to fight for equality, inclusiveness and encourage the beautiful colors that made America great in the first place. I triple dog dare you.
Posted by Christina B.