Heineken is the latest company to face criticism for racist advertising. USA Today reported yesterday (March 27) that the company retracted and apologized for a television spot advertising its beer with the tagline, “Lighter is Better.”
The commercial, which you can see in the first half of the USA Today video below, shows a bartender sliding a bottle of Heineken Light down an improbably long bar. The bottle passes two Black women and a Black man playing guitar before reaching its intended target: a lighter-skinned woman of unspecified ethnic heritage. Text that reads, “Sometimes, Lighter is Better” in all-caps flashes before the woman picks up the bottle.
Critics like Chance the Rapper, who addressed possible cynical motivations behind the ad, voiced their objections via social media:
I think some companies are purposely putting out noticably racist ads so they can get more views. And that shit racist/bogus so I guess I shouldn’t help by posting about it. But 😂 I gotta just say tho. The “sometimes lighter is better” Hienekin commercial is terribly racist omg
— Chance The Rapper (@chancetherapper) March 26, 2018
Heineken ultimately pulled the ad from circulation and issued an apology on Monday (March 26).
“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,” a company spokesperson said in a statement to press.