Dunkin’ Donuts apologises for racist ad in Thailand

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Dunkin' Donuts Thai advertDunkin’ Donuts Thailand had to apologise for running a poster and television campaign promoting the new “Charcoal Donut” which featured a picture of a pink-lip-stick smiling Thailand chief executive’s daughter with a 1950’s bee-hive hairstyle and “black face” makeup holding up a bitten doughnut.

The Thai slogan on the side read: “Break every rule of deliciousness.” Almost a subtle way of admitting it broke the rule of good taste. The Human Rights Watch said on August 30 that the ad would cause “howls of outrage” if it ran in the US (kind of like that racist Sony ad back in 2006.)

Phil Robertson, the deputy director of the Asia division of Human Rights Watch is raising concern. Robertson said “It’s rather incredible that an international company like Dunkin’ Donuts would run such an ad.”

Yet, Nadim Salhani, the chief executive of Dunkin’ Donuts Thailand, holds a contrary viewpoint, and that the criticism received is just “paranoid American thinking”. It’s probably because it’s rather common in Thailand for marketing to feature racist undertones; a line of household cleaning products are sold under the “Black Man” label, which features a smiling black man in a tuxedo and bow tie; there also seems to be a constant fascination and mystique with Hitler.

“It’s absolutely ridiculous,” said Nadim. “We’re not allowed to use black to promote our doughnuts? I don’t get it. What’s the big fuss? What if the product was white and I painted someone white, would that be racist?”

However, Dunkin’ Brands immediately apologised.

“Dunkin’ Donuts recognised the insensitivity of this spot and on behalf of our Thailand franchisee and our company, we apologise for any offense it caused,” Karen Raskopf, the chief communications officer of Dunkin’ Brands said on August 30.

“We are working with our franchisee to immediately pull the television spot and change the campaign.”

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

Dunkin’ Donuts Thailand had to apologise for running a poster and television campaign promoting the new “Charcoal Donut” which featured a picture of a pink-lip-stick smiling Thailand chief executive’s daughter with a 1950’s bee-hive hairstyle and “black face” makeup holding up a bitten doughnut.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Dunkin' Donuts Thai advertDunkin’ Donuts Thailand had to apologise for running a poster and television campaign promoting the new “Charcoal Donut” which featured a picture of a pink-lip-stick smiling Thailand chief executive’s daughter with a 1950’s bee-hive hairstyle and “black face” makeup holding up a bitten doughnut.

The Thai slogan on the side read: “Break every rule of deliciousness.” Almost a subtle way of admitting it broke the rule of good taste. The Human Rights Watch said on August 30 that the ad would cause “howls of outrage” if it ran in the US (kind of like that racist Sony ad back in 2006.)

Phil Robertson, the deputy director of the Asia division of Human Rights Watch is raising concern. Robertson said “It’s rather incredible that an international company like Dunkin’ Donuts would run such an ad.”

Yet, Nadim Salhani, the chief executive of Dunkin’ Donuts Thailand, holds a contrary viewpoint, and that the criticism received is just “paranoid American thinking”. It’s probably because it’s rather common in Thailand for marketing to feature racist undertones; a line of household cleaning products are sold under the “Black Man” label, which features a smiling black man in a tuxedo and bow tie; there also seems to be a constant fascination and mystique with Hitler.

“It’s absolutely ridiculous,” said Nadim. “We’re not allowed to use black to promote our doughnuts? I don’t get it. What’s the big fuss? What if the product was white and I painted someone white, would that be racist?”

However, Dunkin’ Brands immediately apologised.

“Dunkin’ Donuts recognised the insensitivity of this spot and on behalf of our Thailand franchisee and our company, we apologise for any offense it caused,” Karen Raskopf, the chief communications officer of Dunkin’ Brands said on August 30.

“We are working with our franchisee to immediately pull the television spot and change the campaign.”

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