independent

Friday 18 April 2014

An ill-conceived Coca-Cola promo campaign sparks outrage

Coca-Cola has been forced to cancel and issue an apology for a Canadian promotional stunt that went completely awry.

The retraction comes after consumers of the popular soft drink found offensive messages including "you retard" and "douche" written underneath their bottle caps.

According to a company representative, the marketing ploy involved the random pairing of English and French words inside the branded bottles.

The intention was consumers would be encouraged to purchase more Coca Cola drinks, collecting caps – with their words – to form humorous sentences. 

Anglophones were to use the English words while francophones were supposed to take note of the French words.

However, the campaign suffered a severe backlash from the Canadian public, including the Loates family

Blake Loates, whose sister Fiona has cerebral palsy and autism, was horrified to find the words "YOU RETARD" printed inside the cap of her beverage.

"We immediately thought 'You have got to be kidding me,'" she told the Huffington Post Alberta. "My dad had taught our family what an awful word the 'r-word' is. So he was really upset about this."

In addition to cancelling the campaign, Coca Cola has said it will destroy all of the caps with words printed on them.

The company has since apologised to the Loates family and is trying to deal with the printed caps that are already on bottles.

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