In the U.S., Sprite is known for the hip hop marketing campaign it launched this summer. Stars like Missy Elliot, Tupac and J. Cole grace Sprite cans all over the country. But hip hop probably doesn’t resonate everywhere across the globe, leading Sprite to launch different campaigns around the world. Unfortunately, it seems like the marketing approach Sprite took in Ireland doesn’t resonate anywhere…because it’s super sexist.
Sprite’s most recent Irish marketing campaign was meant to be edgy, but they missed the mark by a long shot. The #BRUTALLYREFRESHING campaign took over the streets and bottles of Ireland, only to suffer some pretty #brutal backlash.
The campaign featured phrases like “She has seen more ceilings than Michelangelo” and “A 2 at 10 is a 10 at 2″—Phrases that seem to shame women, though the ads had no obvious target. Even though Sprite never quite clarified whom the ads were talking about, people were pretty unified in their reaction: They were confused, but offended. Sprite claimed that these ads are directed at people who “tell it like it is.” But even that explanation is unclear.
People took to Twitter to discuss their disgust with the ads and needless to say, it was harsh. Many viewers are called the ads misogynistic, sexist and just plain offensive. The backlash for this was so swift and fierce that it forced the soda to make a complete retraction of all ads. The company issued a formal apology and a representative said these ads will never be seen again.
— AP Corkhill (@APCDU) August 3, 2016
— Cristiana De Lia (@CristianaDeLia) August 3, 2016
The entire situation is just strange. Why would Sprite say such gross things? What was the reaction they were hoping for? Why is a brutal soda a good idea? And what was refreshing about those comments?
I don’t know…Seems like the only ugly entity here were those ads. Was that “Brutally Refreshing” enough for you, Sprite?