Microsoft black out and apologise over Polish advert blunder

26 August 2009

Perhaps Microsoft could learn a thing or two from McDonalds concerning interracial marketing. Or then again, perhaps not. Perhaps Microsoft should not be so dickish as to roll out a global advertising campaign with a single creative treatment if they're concerned their target audience differs from country to country. Or perhaps they should pay for somebody to attend nightclasses and learn Photoshop.

Here's a Microsoft ad as seen in the US:

Chinese dude, check. African-American fella, check. White woman in suit, check. All genders and races suitably accounted for. And here's the ad as it appeared in Poland:

Microsoft have now stopped using the image, issued an apology and are investigating - not that there's much to investigate, is there? They let the man with ten thumbs loose on Photoshop, who decided that while Polish customers wouldn't be happy seeing a black man, they'd be sure to do business if they saw a hunchbacked white guy with a head too small for a body that had black man's hands. Yes, you forgot to change the hand. What's that? It doesn't look all that different to a white hand? Then why the fuck did you change the image at all? Get out. There's a job going for you at McDonalds.

15 comments

  • Ross
    Also, note how even though it's a Microsoft advert, there is a rather nice Apple notebook in front of the black/white guy !!
  • Cheap_sack
    Epic Fail
  • Nobby
    In the german version, did they add on little moustaches?
  • Andrew R.
    Loads more about this on Photoshop Disasters (cba to find link)
  • Gus
    There is little intent of racism on this ad. If people go to Poland they can see that the number of black people living in there is very small. To have an ad to portrait them as part of the society would be rather questionable. In the other hand they do have "Chinese dudes" everywhere in Poland.
  • Paul S.
    Then the thing to do, Gus, as I said, is come up with different executions of the same brief - different ads that target different markets. Photoshopping a white guy's head on is dickish in the extreme.
  • Paul S.
    Just had a look at Photoshop Disasters. My favourite comments involve the hand: "If you look closely you will see that the hand's color does not match either man. I have come to the conclusion that both of these men do not have hands and they had to share a prosthetic." "I believe it was HandsCrafters. Racially ambiguous hands in about an hour!"
  • Robert
    Yawn. There aren't many African-Americans in Poland, so they changed the photo to suit their market. Photoshopping happens all the time. Trying to make this out as racist is just stoopid.
  • johnny
    quite funny though at the rate of influx of poles to this country there should be noone there to target with the ad anyway
  • abiel
    What a load of rubbish and I have no doubt that every country in the world does the same thing when targetting different audiences. And as for the Chinese dude as you call him, isn't that racist presuming he is Chinese what made you come to that conclusion ? how do you know he is not Japenese,Vietnemese or Korean etc etc..... Someone needs better things to do with your time rather than going over every advert PC police comes to mind here...
  • dp
    @johnny The thing is, I don't think you meant that as a joke. Just another stupid Daily Mail reader, no doubt. See The Times' website (link below) - Poles are LEAVING. The best argument against democracy truly is five minutes with the average voter. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article3378877.ece
  • Cheap_sack
    up yours dp you page 3, carlsberg drinking peenas
  • Paul S.
    abiel - I called him a Chinese dude because he looks like a Chinese dude, in that he's a man and he doesn't appear to be Japanese, Vietnamese or Korean. Some folk have travelled beyond the end of their own street and can make the call. The other point was, for the third time, if you're a big ol' global company, you prepare multiple executions of the same creative message, to suit your different marketplaces. You don't just stick a white man's head on a black man's body.
  • Brian
    This stuff was on BBC today, and it was presented in a more interesting way.
  • Jeffrey A.
    Can I just ask, If the adverts are supposed to be in relation to a real cross section of society, where in the American advert is the good old white male? Are there no white males in IT in the states...?

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