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Mountain Dew pulls 'racist' commercial created by rap star: Queen's University expert


Queen’s University marketing professor Monica LaBarge is available to talk about PepsiCo pulling a Mountain Dew commercial critics say is filled with racial stereotypes and makes light of violence against women. One critic called it “arguably the most racist commercial in history.”

The ad, which was designed to be played on the Internet, was created by rapper Tyler, The Creator. It depicts a battered white woman ask to identify a suspect out of a police lineup of black men. A goat in the lineup threatens the woman. PepsiCo has now removed the video from the Internet and apologized, but did not comment on the ad’s approval process.

Dr. LaBarge says advertisers need to walk a fine line between being edgy and being offensive.

“Companies are always looking for new techniques to be edgy and there is a need to break through the clutter. But in this case, having a celebrity create an ad without proper supervision by the brand team is a pretty risky move,” says Dr. LaBarge.

To arrange an interview, please contact communication officers Michael Onesi at 613.533.6000 ext. 77513 or michael.onesi@queensu.ca or Anne Craig at 613-533-2877 or anne.craig@queensu.ca at Queen’s University News and Media Services Department in Kingston, Ont., Canada.

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Last updated at 9:43 am EDT, Wed August 27, 2014
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