BrandArena: Coca-Cola apologizes for 'insensitive' Christmas TVC in Mexico

Monday 7 December 2015

Coca-Cola apologizes for 'insensitive' Christmas TVC in Mexico

Global drinks company Coca-Cola has apologized for a "insensitive” Christmas television commercial depicting a group of mostly young, white people traveling to a remote Mexican town to hand out bottles of Coke to indigenous locals.

While Coca-Cola has scrubbed the video from its YouTube channel, it can still be found elsewhere on the site - albeit in a considerably lower-quality version. The commercial depicts a group of young white people traveling into an indigenous Mexican village to build its citizens a giant Christmas tree and hand out bottles of Coke in some sort of pseudo-philanthropic effort.

The drink enjoys wild popularity in the country, where the per capita consumption of soda outweighs even America; on average, Mexicans consume 43 gallons of soda per year, with Coca-Cola controlling a vast majority of the market share. But the country's fanaticism for the sugary soft drink has helped fuel its obesity epidemic, which is even worse than America's: 70 percent of Mexican adults are overweight or obese. In an attempt to combat that, Mexico introduced a soda tax in 2014 that increased the price of soft drinks by about 10 percent (that year, Coca-Cola's sales in Mexico fell by 4.6 percent).

A spokesperson for Coca-Cola sent the following statement: "As part of Coca-Cola México's Christmas campaign for this year the video "Mixe Community Totontepec" was launched on digital channels, seeking to convey a message of unity and joy. Our intention was never to be insensitive to or underestimate any indigenous group. We have now removed the video and apologize to anyone who may have been offended. In nearly 90 years in the country, Coca-Cola Mexico has worked to share messages of unity and friendship to contribute to build a society free of prejudices."

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