H&M controversy: Here are five other adverts that got it wrong

H&M has come under fire for an image on their website of a black child dressed in a green hoodie with the words ‘coolest monkey in the jungle’ printed on it. We take a look at other adverts that got it wrong.

An undated photo of an advert for a hoodie by H&M. Clothing giant H&M has apologized Monday, Jan. 8, 2017, and removed an advertising image of a black model in a sweatshirt with the words “Coolest monkey in the jungle.’’ The brand removed the image, but kept in place other designs modeled by white children. (H&M via AP)
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H&M has come under fire this week for an image on their website of a black child dressed in a green hoodie with the words ‘coolest monkey in the jungle’ printed on it. The image of the little boy has caused outrage on social media with singer The Weeknd taking to Twitter to proclaim an end to his relationship with H&M. The 27-year-old, who collaborated with the company in 2017 by both designing a collection as well as modelling, tweeted that the image had ‘deeply offended him.’

Lebron James and Questlove were also among those who expressed anger over the image.

Here are other adverts that caused a stir for all the wrong reasons.

Pepsi advert

This advert sees model and reality TV star Kendall Jenner joining a protest that passes her while she is working. It is not apparent what the protest is for, but lots of the protesters are drinking Pepsi and Jenner becomes the star of the march by giving a can to a riot policeman, who drinks it as the crowd cheers.

The advert drew ire because it trivialises the seriousness of protests around the world. Pepsi pulled the ad and apologised saying

Ashton Kutcher’s ad for Pop Chips

In 2012 Ashton Kutcher’s advert for Pop Chips got it so very wrong. In the ad, Kutcher is done up in brownface and parodies an Indian accent to play a Bollywood producer named Raj. Pop Chips later pulled the ad and issued this apology. "We received a lot feedback about the dating campaign parody we launched today and appreciate everyone who took the time to share their point of view," Keith Belling, the founder and CEO of the company wrote. "Our team worked hard to create a light-hearted parody featuring a variety of characters that was meant to provide a few laughs. We did not intend to offend anyone. I take full responsibility and apologise to anyone we offended."

Dove body wash

An advert for Dove body wash came under fire in 2017, forcing the company to pull the advert and apologise. The advert shows a white woman changing her t-shirt and becoming a white woman who changes her t-shirt again and becomes an Asian woman. Dove was accused of racism and later offered this apology.

Nivea Middle East

In 2017 Nivea Middle East apologised for an advert which stated that “white is purity.”

The apology was made on Nivea’s Twitter page and said “The NIVEA Middle East post was not meant to be offensive. We apologise. It’s been removed. NIVEA values diversity and tolerance.”

Chinese laundry detergent

An advert for a Chinese laundry detergent shows a woman shoving a capsule of the product into a black man’s mouth and then shoving the man into the washing machine. He emerges from the cycle paler (and Chinese) and she is very pleased at the result. In a statement, the company urged people not to “over analyse” the situation: “We have no intentions to discriminate against people of colour… Ethnic discrimination is something we strongly reject and condemn… The advertisement and the surrounding controversy have hurt people of African descent. We express our apologies, and also sincerely hope internet users and media won’t over analyse the situation.”


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