Around Asia: Dunkin’ Donuts apologizes for blacking up model

In Other News - September 2nd, 2013
Dunkin' Donuts

Dunkin’ Donuts has apologized for a Thai advertisement slammed as “insensitive” by human rights groups.

A marketing campaign for the American pastry-maker’s “Charcoal Donut” features a woman in “blackface” make-up and bright pink lipstick on a poster that was plastered all over Thailand.

Human rights groups and citizens criticized the ad as “offensive” and demanded an apology from Dunkin’ Donuts’ Thai division.

“It’s both bizarre and racist that Dunkin’ Donuts thinks that it must color a woman’s skin black and accentuate her lips with bright pink lipstick to sell a chocolate doughnut,” Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director for Human Rights Watch, told the AP.

Nadim Salhani, CEO for Dunkin’ Donuts Thailand, defended the ad, to which he attributed an increase in donut sales.

He insisted that criticism of the ad was merely “paranoid American thinking.”

“I’m sorry, but this is a marketing campaign and it’s working very well for us,” he said.

But an apology from Dunkin’ Donuts’ US headquarters came Friday.

“Dunkin’ Donuts recognizes the insensitivity of this spot and on behalf of our Thailand franchisee and our company, we apologize for any offense it caused,” Karen Raskopf, chief communications officer for Dunkin’ Brands, said in a statement.

“We are working with our franchisee to immediately pull the television spot and to change the campaign.”

by Maesie Bertumen

Photo: Flickr