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Heineken pulls ‘Lighter is Better’ ad after critics like Chance the Rapper call it racist

The ad shows a beer sliding past three people — all of whom are black — before arriving in front of a lighter-skinned person

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By Sally French, MarketWatch


Heineken, in response to allegations of racism, has pulled its “lighter is better” ad promoting the beer giant’s Heineken Light from TV and internet spots.

The ad shows a bartender sliding a beer down a bar past three people who are all black. The beer then stops in front of a lighter-skinned woman after displaying the words “Sometimes, lighter is better” on the screen.

The ad has been removed from Heineken’s /zigman2/quotes/206351165/composite HEINY +0.39% /zigman2/quotes/205010810/delayed DE:HNK1 +0.81% /zigman2/quotes/205347870/delayed NL:HEIA +0.36% official channels but has been re-posted by others:

Naturally, the internet went into a fury upon viewing the ad — both in support of and against Heineken.

There’s the camp that says the ad is definitely racist:

Then the other side:

Singer-songwriter Chance the Rapper, whose offstage name is Chancelor Jonathan Bennett, suggested that ad agencies could be intentionally putting out racist ads to get more people talking about them.

Heineken has since apologized.

“While we feel the ad is referencing our Heineken light beer — we missed the mark, are taking the feedback to heart and will use this to influence future campaigns,” the Dutch brewery said in a prepared statement.

H&M got into hot water of this image showing a black child wearing a sweatshirt that says “coolest monkey in the jungle.”

Heineken isn’t the only company to get in hot water recently over marketing perceived as racist. Grammy Award–winning pop star The Weeknd announced he would be cutting ties with H&M /zigman2/quotes/202089781/delayed CH:HMB -0.64% after the fashion retailer published an ad featuring a black child wearing a sweatshirt with the text “coolest monkey in the jungle.”

And Dove was forced to apologize after releasing a video that showed a black woman taking off a top to reveal a white woman underneath.

Read on: The most racist Chinese laundry detergent commercial you’ll see all day

US : U.S.: OTC
$ 53.09
+0.21 +0.39%
Volume: 20,714
Nov. 23, 2020 4:00p
P/E Ratio
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$60.76 billion
Rev. per Employee
DE : Germany: Frankfurt
+0.72 +0.81%
Volume: 1,111
Nov. 23, 2020 8:59p
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Market Cap
€46.74 billion
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NL : Netherlands: Euronext Amsterdam
+0.32 +0.36%
Volume: 488,918
Nov. 23, 2020 5:35p
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€51.26 billion
Rev. per Employee
CH : Switzerland: SWX
CHF 15.50
-0.10 -0.64%
Volume: 0.00
Nov. 2, 2020 5:35p
P/E Ratio
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Market Cap
CHF27.20 billion
Rev. per Employee

Sally French covers drone technology and serves as a social media editor for MarketWatch in San Francisco. You can follow her on Twitter @SAFMedia.

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