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Heineken advert branded ‘terribly racist’ over ‘lighter is higher’ tagline

Heineken has pulled an advert for a low-calorie beer after hip-hop star Chance the Rapper described it as “terribly racist”.

In the 30-second clip, a bartender is seen sliding a bottle of the beer past a number of black people before it reaches a light-skinned woman.

Moments later, the tagline “sometimes, lighter is better” appears on screen.

Chance the Rapper slammed companies making 'noticably racist' ads
Image:
Chance the Rapper slammed companies making ‘noticably racist’ ads

Outrage soon followed on social media, with the American star tweeting: “I think some companies are purposely putting out noticeably racist ads so they can get more views.

“And that s*** racist/bogus so I guess I shouldn’t help by posting about it. But I gotta just say tho. The ‘sometimes lighter is better’ Heineken commercial is terribly racist omg.”

He added: “I’m not saying boycott them or go off, I’m just noticing how often it happens and I think they baiting consumers and tweeters and freelancers and s***. Like I didn’t wanna tweet about it so bad but it’s like how can you not.”

The bottle passes several black people before reaching the woman. Pic: Heineken
Image:
The bottle passes several black people before reaching the woman. Pic: Heineken

Heineken said it was now pulling the advert for Heineken Light from all global markets.

In a statement, it said: “While we feel the ad is referencing our Heineken Light beer, we missed the mark, are taking the feedback to heart and will use this to influence future campaigns.”

The company went on to say it had a long and “positive track record for creating marketing that shows there’s more that unites us than divides us”.

The bottle is passed to a light-skinned woman. Pic: Heineken
Image:
The bottle is passed to a light-skinned woman. Pic: Heineken

In a statement posted to the Heineken South Africa Twitter account, the company said it regretted creating “ambiguity” with its advert as it could be “perceived in a different manner that may be offensive for some”.

The latest advertising gaffe comes after retailer H&M came under fire in January for a poster of a black child modelling a hoodie emblazoned with the words “coolest monkey in the jungle”.

A whole host of celebrities, including Manchester United footballer Romelu Lukaku, spoke out against the advert, causing the brand to pull the image and apologise.

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