Actually, Blackface Is Also Offensive In New Zealand [Updated]


Although kiwis would be more likely to recognize the black figure in this ad as a golliwogg. Jones Soda serves up whole sheaf of ethnic and sexual stereotypes, including a turban’d man holding a detonator, for your soft-drinking pleasure. Revolutionary.

Update 1: Several commenters have shared a form email they received from a spokesperson for the U.S. company that makes Jones Soda. It reads:

This is not our advertisement, as we don’t even sell in New Zealand.
We’re trying to track down where this came from right now.
Thanks for letting us know about this.
Todd Martini
Todd Martini
Digital Marketing Manager
Jones Soda Co.
(206) XXX-XXXX
[email protected]
Follow Us on Twitter!

As to whether or not the ad is “real,” according to the international advertising archive Coloribus, the agency responsible is DDB New Zealand, and the ad is an authorized ad, current as of December, 2010. It was commissioned by Jones Soda’s New Zealand distributor, Foodtrenz. (We trenz toward putting “-enz” on the enz of words in enzed because of, well, gee, um, Split Enz, I guess.)

Foodtrenz, according to its website, does indeed appear to distribute Jones Soda in New Zealand — meaning the U.S. spokesperson would seem to be mistaken on at least one count. However, DDB New Zealand doesn’t list Foodtrenz as a client on its website, and nor does the “Inappropriately Good” campaign feature on DDB’s page of recent work.

Update 2
: A different Jones Soda U.S. spokesperson just wrote me directly to say:

This ad is counterintuitive with Jones Soda’s core values of celebrating uniqueness and individuality, and we deeply apologize for any offense it has created.
Unbeknown to us, the ad was created by an advertising agency in New Zealand on behalf of a distribution partner.
Please know this ad was not approved by Jones Soda’s corporate, we do not agree with it, and are working on its immediate removal.

So the ad is “real” — but apparently Jones is on the right track with its response. A company that knows how to apologize! That’s about as refreshing as a nice, cool…oh.

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