Coca-Cola criticized for ‘outrageous’ ad in Mexico

Think twice the next time you feel you’d “like to buy the world a Coke.” Christmas is off to a sour start for Coca-Cola in Mexico because of a holiday ad showing white people joyously giving out the drink to indigenous people.

The ad was intended to be heartwarming, with a small army (of very young and white people) bringing joy in a form of a Christmas to a desolate community in southern Mexico. Rather, consumer and health groups are blasting the “faux philanthropy” spot as an “attack on the dignity” of the community.

In the spot Coca-Cola writes that it’s purpose is to “break down prejudice and share” (in this case, a sugary drink), based off unsourced data that 82 percent of the country’s indigenous people feel alienated because Spanish is not their native tongue.

“It’s outrageous for the indigenous,” a spokeswoman for Consumer Power, which is one of the groups in the alliance criticizing Coca-Cola, told the AP. Another organization is calling on the Mexican government to ban ad.

The ad was pulled from Coca-Cola’s YouTube page last night. The company didn’t immediately respond to Digiday’s request for comment.

Mexicans have a troubled relationship with sugary sodas and Coca-Cola itself. The company controls 73 percent of the industry there (versus 42 percent in the U.S.) and the influx of fizzy drinks are leading to rising diabetes and obesity rates. This ad, the groups says, seeks only to exacerbate the health issues affecting the country.

And, since it’s 2015, the ad was affixed with a hashtag (#AbreTuCorazon or “Open Your Heart”) that was promptly trolled. “Pathetic,” a person tweeted describing the ad where “spoiled white youth give Coca-Cola to poor Mexicans.” Another person said the company is “working on some genius colonialist branding” for its “out-of-touch racist” campaign.

Perhaps they should’ve given out bottles of Dasani.

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