Heineken has withdrawn a television advert after it provoked an online storm and accusations of racism.
Chance the Rapper was among those who complained about the ad which showed a bartender slide a bottle of low-calorie, reduced alcohol beer past three black people before it stops at the hand of a lighter skinned woman.
“Sometimes lighter is better,” reads the tagline.
The brewer said the slogan was a reference to the light beer but many observers thought otherwise.
“I think some companies are purposely putting out noticeably racist ads so they can get more views,” wrote Chance the Rapper, before dismissing the Heineken commercial as “horribly racist”.
Others said the skin colour of the people involved could not have been a coincidence or that it was tone deaf at best.
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The ad has since been deleted from Heineken’s YouTube channel.
Saw that Heineken commercial… These companies know exactly what they're doing.
— Lana Kane, Ph.D. (@_eCarmen) March 27, 2018
@Heineken boooooooo! You say you missed the mark on your racist commercial? Well, you did far more than that. Hope you go under for your own stupidity.
— Darci Niva (@darciniva) March 27, 2018
For its part, the company said it was taking the reaction seriously.
“For decades, Heineken has developed diverse marketing that shows there’s more that unites us than divides us,” said a spokesman for Heineken US.
“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.”
It is not the only company to have run into similar concerns.
Earlier this year H&M had to apologise for images showing a black child wearing a hoodie emblazoned with the slogan “coolest monkey in the jungle” across the front.
And in October last year Dove was forced to drop an advert that showed a series of images in which a black woman appeared to turn white after using its soap.