In case you missed it, Heineken put out an ad that’s causing outrage the world over for being “terribly racist”.
The ad shows a Heineken beer bottle sliding by many people of colour before coming to a full-stop in front of a woman who happens to be white. The ad’s tagline?
“Sometimes lighter is better”
Oh-oh! Did Heineken mean lighter is better when it comes to the alcohol content in beer, or when it comes to skin pigmentation?
In the fierce fallout that erupted on social media many asked how they couldn’t have known the ad would be offensive.
But that’s the thing. My gut tells me what we saw was a gutsy marketing technique that I’ll label, manufactured racism.
Watch as I explain my theory bearing in mind that for the perpetually offended demographic, no perceived slight is too small to raise a stink over.
It’s 2018 after all and we have an entire constituency who live by the mantra, “I exist, therefore I am offended” and Heineken played these people and the rest of us and the media, too.
If a company can leverage snowflake outrage into an avalanche of free publicity, where’s the downside?