In the Golden Age of Advertising, producing commercials was easy. You could pretty much toss in any horrific stereotype you thought would help sell your product, and if any minorities complained, who cares? Minorities aren't the majority, duh.
Of course, in this era of political correctness, those clumsy, cringe-worthy stereotypes are a thing of the past.
When you watch this schmaltzy ad, you slowly come to the realization that the theme is, "If your epidermis isn't white enough, the man of your dreams will never love you."
Oh, we're not reading too much into it--Pond's White Beauty is an Indian line of skin whitener.
I'm sorry, you're just too brown.
Hey, is that my ex?
Is she still brown?
So, although the ex-boyfriend in the ad eye-fucks the living shit out of his lost love, he just can't get over her icky brownness, even if she's portrayed by former Miss World Priyanka Chopra.
Upon removing my sunglasses, I see that she is still too brown. Gross.
Over the ad's next four installments (yes, it's a five-part skin whitener epic) the girl wins her man back thanks to her brand new pallor. Well, that and his new girlfriend was a total bitch, but it's mostly the melanin thing. We'd like to think the antagonist tries to win him back by whitening her skin even more, and the two women end up bleaching back and forth until they both look like yetis.
The ideal beauty.
Taking the above to the opposite extreme, in the world of Italian laundry products, myths about black men's ravenous libidos are still alive and banging:
The ad opens with a woman doing her laundry. Her scrawny, white husband walks by and tries to seduce her.
"You want-a make-a the sex?"
She rejects him by shoving him into an improbably spacious washer.
After her hubby drowns in detergent, she opens the machine, only to have a buff black man emerge as hip-hop blasts from the heavens.
And lest you think we're stretching things here a bit, here's the sequel.
This time it's the husband who commits violent washing machine homicide...
Oh, how the tables have turned.
...but his scheme to replace his wife with a nice Afro-Italian babe backfires when the same sexy black dude pops up, foreshadowing some non-consensual, man-on-man interracial ramrodding.
Oh how the tables have turned... gay.
Stay classy, Italy!
Let's go to America now, where Salesgenie.com is a database marketing service. That ranks just above surgery-grade gynecological equipment on your average TV viewer's list of impulse buys, so Salesgenie clearly needs a whiz-bang ad to draw in new customers.
Their ad starts off well. Animated pandas are trying to sell bamboo furniture. It makes perfectly tenuous sense so far...
...but then Ching-Ching and Ling-Ling start talking like goddamn Fu Manchu and we're left wondering what small-town CEO green-lit this commercial.
Did we say small-town CEO? Whoops. This ad aired during Super Bowl XLIII. This means a group of high-priced ad execs got together and decided that $2.7 million dollars worth of ad time was best spent on third-rate Charlie Chan impressions.
How Salesgenie apparently views Asia.
Shockingly, some of the 97.5 million people who saw this commercial were offended, and Salesgenie quickly yanked it.
The 2006 Tennessee Senate race was fought between Republican Bob Corker and Democrat Harold Ford, who was en route to become Tennessee's first black Senator.
Honestly, he looks like kind of a badass.
With Ford ahead by a slim margin, the Republican Party had only one option: produce a thoughtful TV spot that rationally explained why Corker was the better candid- oh, who are we kidding? The RNC punched out an attack ad invoking the boogeyman of miscegenation.
Here we see a white, helium-voiced "Playboy Bunny" insinuate that she had unnatural relations with the black Mr. Ford.
The ad was considered so sleazy that even Bob Corker asked it be pulled off the air as pundits nationwide accused him of race-baiting.
It's worth noting that the whole Playboy bunny thing was a reference to the fact that Ford had attended a 2005 Playboy-sponsored Super Bowl party in Florida. He justified it with a awesomely candid quip: "I like football and I like girls. I have no apologies for that."
This is the least pimpingest picture we could find of Ford.
Tennessee voters were so outraged by the ad campaign that the white Bob Corker shot up several points in the polls and won a narrow victory. At the end of the day, everyone learned a valuable lesson about race-baiting smear tactics: they fucking work.
In this ad, Red Sox star David Ortiz and Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher destroy a pair of Asian badminton players, "Yang" and "Lau," thanks to a steady supply of questionably healthy sugar water.
"Eat it Yang, or Lau. Whatever, they all look the same." - Vitaminwater
It doesn't seem so weird... until you realize the Asian guys aren't played by a couple of random actors--they're American Olympian badminton players, Howard Bach and Bob Malaythong. So why the hell were they called Yang and Lau? Were "Howard" and "Bob" too hard to pronounce?
The ad was supposed to generate exposure for badminton prior to the 2008 Olympics. If Vitaminwater was trying to publicize under appreciated athletes, it might have been a smidge more effective to actually tell viewers the players' names instead of giving them names more appropriate for prank calling a Chinese food restaurant.
USA! USA! USA!
When Intel published this advertisement...
...the Internet was quick to point out that the ad featured six black men bowing down to a nerdy white guy. Well, technically it's just one black sprinter who's been lazily Photoshopped six times, but that's sort of worse.
The ad is a metaphor for how Intel's new processors are super fast and make employees way more efficient, but whoever designed the ad has apparently never seen a 100 meter dash before. Instead of sending a message of lightning fast efficiency, we see what's about to be a hilarious pile of concussed sprinters the second the starters pistol goes off.
Still, Intel's gaffe pales in comparison to the whitewashing Microsoft gave a black board member on the Polish version of their website...
Seriously, Microsoft? You're a multi-billion dollar computing conglomerate and you couldn't figure out how to Photoshop one damn hand?
Now this UK ad does go back a few years (mid-80s) but holy shit, these 40 seconds of insanity make the brain-trusts behind our previous ads look like NAACP Image Award nominees:
If this weren't in color, we would've guessed that it was made around 1950. The other ads we've looked at just had one or two poorly chosen elements, but this is a literal parade of racial stereotypes.
No, seriously. A parade.
The ad is what Uncle Remus's fever hallucinations look like. It's what Aunt Jemima sees when she drops peyote. It is not a viewing experience that makes us thirsty for some orange drink.
We've start with some jive-talking crows, something that was already offensive when Dumbo used it in 1941, and we only regress from there. Follow along as they run through all the harmful black stereotypes from our embarrassing century. There's ...
... a mammy ...
...Sunflower from Fantasia, and finally ...
... the basketball-playing crow.
Hey, but at least they resisted the urge to make the next word out of the sax "watermelon."
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