Italian chocolatier's edgy ad hits sour note in Germany

Aug. 30, 2013 at 2:28 PM   |   Comments

BERLIN, Aug. 30 (UPI) -- Italian candy maker Ferrero's edgy ad aimed at boosting sales of its sweets struck a sour note with some detractors in Germany crying racism.

Ferrero has pulled the election-themed commercial for its white chocolates to "make changes," Spiegel Online reported.

The candy maker recently began running an ad that includes an animated bag of chocolates giving a speech to enthusiastic supporters who chant "Yes Weiss Can" ("Yes White Can") and "Weiss Nuss Bleiben" ("White Nuts Stay"), the German magazine's website said. The banner is unfurled on stage that says "Germany votes white."

The ad, created for Ferrero by M&C Saatchi, triggered widespread reaction on Internet social networks, including Twitter users who said it hearkened Germany's far-right party, NPD. "Has Ferrero Weiss become the main sponsor of the NPD?" one commentator tweeted. Another said, "As of now, the NPD will be eating nothing but Ferrero Kusschen."

On the ad campaign's Facebook page, the reaction was mixed, with some saying just using the word "white" shouldn't draw accusations of racism. But one person posted, "I hope the advertisers behind this dumb campaign get a chocolate kiss stuck in their throats, and there aren't any Nazis around to dislodge it."

In an email to Spiegel Online, Ferrero said it never intended to be political.

"It is important for us to clearly stress that we are strictly against any form of xenophobia, right-extremism or racism," Ferrero said. "All of our assertions were purely about white chocolate -- and without xenophobic intent. We regret that the commercial was misunderstood and the product messaging was otherwise construed."

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