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Coca-Cola pulls ad after complaints of cultural insensitivity

Atlanta-based Coca-Cola pulled this ad from its YouTube channel after complaints that it was culturally insensitive:

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In the ad, a carload of young people arrive in Totontepec in Oaxaca, Mexico, and are greeted warmly by local residents. The two groups crack open bottles of Coke and then construct this giant Coke Christmas tree out of wood and bottle caps.

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An image from a Coke ad some found to be culturally insensitive.


"I consider this type of advertising an act of discrimination and racist, and it also promotes the breakdown of the social fabric by trying to impose a consumer culture that alien to this community,"indigenous lawyer Elvira Pablo said during a press conference, Mashable reported.

TeleSUR, a Latin American media outlet, found the tone to be patronizing.

"Fortunately for Mexico’s Indigenous, white Mexican hipsters are here to save them this Christmas,” the ad tells us," TeleSUR wrote in an editorial titled "This New Coca Cola Ad Shows Mexico’s White Savior Problem."

"What follows next is a painful metaphor of ongoing colonialism in the country: white kids storm the Mixe Indigenous community, as if a crusade, distribute Coke bottles and build a giant Coca-Cola Christmas tree for all to idolize," the editorial continued. "In fact, for the Indigenous of Mexico, white people bringing Coca-Cola is not just a joyful Christmas ad, it is a reality of corporate and cultural domination and destruction."

In a statement Coca-Cola said the ad was meant to “convey a message of unity and joy," but pulled it. The clip above was posted by YouTube user canera.

About the Author

Jennifer Brett is a multiplatform journalist and digital coach. She writes The Buzz blog for

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