‘Racist’ smoothie ads in Austria spark online controversy (PHOTOS)
A series of billboards with four different themes advertising smoothies was produced by German-based manufacturer True Fruits. While the design of the posters is quite simple – a picture of a bottle and a slogan – the billboards have attracted a lot of attention.
Some feature three smoothie bottles, accompanied by slogans such as: “Your homeland needs us now,” and “More bottles from overseas.”
Another one has a black-colored bottle pictured on it. It was accompanied by the slogan, “It rarely crosses the border,” and was among those to cause anger.
“wtf ist [is] eigentlich [actually] wrong with you, @truefruits,” a person on Twitter wrote.
“OMG, who comes up with such a campaign and who gives it a final approval?” another caption reads.
"Disgusting and racist," a comment on the Facebook page of True Fruits said.
Some, however, praised the advertising concept. “As the saying goes, ‘No guts, no glory.’ I’ve always admired @truefruits for THIS kind of OOH advertising,” a person wrote.
Others say that critics simply have no “sense of humor.”
True Fruits firmly rejects the accusations of racism, stating that their advertising campaign is actually against xenophobia.
“Our point is to communicate in a human way and to be the same [people] as we are in private: humorous, honest and direct,” a company spokeswoman said as cited by the Horizont web outlet. “With the campaign we want to express our incomprehension against xenophobia, which we always think is sh*t – no matter whether in Austria, Germany or elsewhere.”
Some insist, however, that the company “knowingly plays with racism to get greater advertisement” and uses racism as humor.
The True Fruits Company says that as the composition of smoothies is very simple, the packaging ends up having a lot of spare space which can be used for humorous messages. The controversial black-bottled ‘White Smoothie,’ for example, is labelled as “motor oil” on the back.
“Often we find the labels on bottles boring, so we like to write all sorts of strange stuff on them to amuse ourselves and to make you chuckle,” a disclaimer on the company’s website reads.
This is not the first time the True Fruits has sparked controversy over its ambiguous billboards. Last year, the company launched an advertising campaign in Germany, promoting a new product line containing Chia seeds.
The billboards, designed in the same simple fashion as in Austria, had sexually suggestive slogans like: “Oral consumption – you can’t reach seed enjoyment faster,” and “If your seeds are building up, shake it.”
Several German cities, including Munich, decided to ban the billboards. Residents, however, were still able to enjoy them, as many were placed on private property and could not be removed by the city.
The company also released a video full of ‘seedy’ jokes, poking fun at the letters of complaint they received.