Coca-Cola has issued an apology and pulled a commercial off the air after it was deemed racist and insensitive. The commercial, which is in Spanish, features a group of smiling, young ,white people bringing Coca-Cola to a remote and indigenous village in Oaxaca.
The advertisement was likely supposed to be heartwarming, as it featured the “coming together” of two seemingly divergent cultures during the holiday season. The commercial claims that 81.6 percent of Mexico’s indigenous population feels ashamed to speak their own language and then ends with the on-screen words: Abre Tu Corazón, or “Open Your Heart.”
After the advertisement made the rounds on TV and social media, the Alliance for Food Health called upon the Mexican government to censor the commercial, deeming it an example of “hipster colonialism” that was degrading to the indigenous population.
"I consider this type of advertising an act of discrimination and racist, and it also promotes the breakdown of the social fabric by trying to impose a consumer culture, a culture of consumption and outside communities," indigenous advocate and lawyer Elvira Pablo told Spanish-language publication Aser Litigio.
Coca-Cola took the ad down and explained in a statement released to the media:
"We deeply regret that the message has been misinterpreted when our intention was the exact opposite of the criticism received.”