Dunkin' Apologizes For Blackface Ad, Franchisee Still Doesn't Know Why

Surely someone thought this might not be a fantastic idea.

Dunkin' Donuts (NASDAQ: DNKN) apologized last week for an ad campaign running in Thailand depicting a model in blackface makeup to promote the chain's 'charcoal donut.' According to the Los Angeles Times, the accompanying slogan translates to "Break every rule of deliciousness."

The ad was spotted by Human Rights Watch, resulting in a quick statement from Dunkin' chief communications officer Karen Raskopf and the immediate discontinuation of the campaign.

"Dunkin' Donuts recognizes the insensitivity of this spot," she said. "On behalf of our Thailand franchisee and our company, we apologize for any offense it caused. We are working with our franchisee to immediately pull the television spot and to change the campaign."

Apparently similar racial undertones aren't uncommon in Thailand's advertising. TV commercials for a Thai skin whitening cream tell viewers the product will give them a better chance of getting a job than if they had dark skin, according to the AP.

The chief executive of the donut chain's Thailand franchise, whose daughter modeled for the campaign, still doesn't see the problem with the ad.

"It's absolutely ridiculous," Nadim Salhani told the AP. "We're not allowed to use black to promote our doughnuts? I don't get it. What's the big fuss? What if the product was white and I painted someone white, would that be racist?"

For more:

- See this Los Angeles Times story

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