Last year, I noticed a new advertisement popping up at some of the convenience stores in my neighborhood. There are several versions – each featuring monkey doing human activities.
When combined with the name “Africa Cigarettes”, these advertisements pissed a lot of people off.
According to a news article I read a few weeks ago, Africa Cigarettes are in hot water after this ad campaign was labeled racist. In response, they agreed to pull this advertising soon. Although I question their definition of “soon”, considering the fact that I read one of these articles weeks ago and took the above picture this morning.
I doubt there was any intention on the part of the company to be racially insensitive, but I find it funny that an entire organization failed to recognize the potential for backlash. I would think that the company would have at least one Gyopo (foreign-born Korean) on their staff.
This problem reminds me of something I read recently. The article, which I can’t find now, discussed the importance of diversity in the business world. The author was not concerned with political correctness or fairness toward minorities. Rather, it said that organizations lacking diversity can be compared to a person wearing blinders.
Considering the lack of diversity in most Korean workplaces, I think this is a great example of that very problem.
Until next time.