An advertisement for Heineken’s 99 calorie beer has come under fire for racism. The ad, accompanied by the slogan ‘Sometimes Lighter Is Better,’ depicts a barman sliding a bottle of Heineken’s light beer to a woman looking disappointed with her glass of wine. The beer slides past a black man at the bar, a black musician and a black model before arriving at the table, where the woman stands with two white men.
The initial criticism came from US rapper Chance the Rapper, who took to Twitter to express his discomfort. “I think some companies are purposely putting out noticeably racist ads so they can get more views,” he wrote. “The “sometimes lighter is better” Heineken commercial is terribly racist.”
Twitter users were divided. “’I can see your point Chance. It’s the subtle and subliminal messages that do the most harm,” one said. “This may be intentional, then again maybe not. Only the marketing team knows the true intent.” However, others said the rapper was ‘reaching’ in his analysis.
The ad has now been removed from Heineken USA’s YouTube page.
“For decades, Heineken has developed diverse marketing that shows there’s more that unites us than divides us,” a Heineken spokesperson said in a statement. “While we feel the ad is referencing our Heineken Light beer – we missed the mark, are taking the feedback to heart and will use this to influence future campaigns.”