While perusing the Internet recently, I was prompted to watch an advertisement for Mountain Dew before being directed to a YouTube video I was hoping to watch. I usually ignore these pesky ads, so I thought nothing of this particular annoyance—until I was jolted out of my absentmindedness by the outright offensiveness of the ad.
The ad for this popular soda drink features a battered-looking woman choosing her attacker out of a police lineup. The lineup features several men and one surprising suspect: a goat. The menacing goat mutters at the woman, threatening her not to tell the police who it was that beat her. The ad was found so offensive that it can no longer be found anywhere online in its entirety.
As if the fact that a battered woman is being scared into not ratting out her attacker isn’t bad enough, aside from the goat, the lineup of suspects she had to choose from was made up entirely of African American males. Not only was this commercial horrendously offensive in the way that it downplayed domestic violence towards women but also in it’s blatant racism.
I immediately was prompted to write a strongly worded letter to the CEO of PepsiCo (the company that owns Mountain Dew) who- to my surprise- was a woman herself!
Dear Indra Nooyi,
I was terribly disappointed with a recent ad for Mountain Dew that I viewed online. It is your responsibility as a CEO to oversee any and all publicity that your company produces and the fact that you allowed a commercial that was so offensive to be put out on the Internet is a terrifying oversight. Either- which I hope is the case- you did not approve this ad before it was made public or you saw it fit for public viewing and knowingly allowed it to be made public, either of which are disappointing explanations.
I found this commercial offensive on two levels: first of all, the depiction of a battered woman being scared into not turning her attacker into the police is a terrible message to be sent out not only to women who are of victims of domestic abuse, but to their attackers and all men and women alike as well. Secondly, the fact that the entire lineup of suspects was comprised of solely African American men was sadly racist and narrow-minded.
If you want to continue receiving support from your consumers, you must be far more insightful and respectful in your future advertisements. I hope to see any and all traces of your ad removed from the Internet at once.
Your Concerned Customer,
You can watch as much of the clip as possible and see for yourself how Mountain Dew’s irrelevant and insulting advertisement was completely inappropriate for public viewing.