True Fruits Smoothies won't apologize for "ugly girl friend" black bottle smoothie

True Fruits Smoothies in Germany has released a fruit juice mix in a black bottle where there's a point to the oblique design. The smoothie looks unappetizing, but is tasty. So the text on the bottle actually compares this conundrum to an ugly girl who is pretty on the inside, as the old saying goes.

"Limited No 6 - Black Edition. Have you ever helped an ugly female friend -- who's a really nice person on the inside -- get a date? That's how we are feeling with our smoothie here which might be the tastiest we have ever made but who doesn't get the love it deserves because of his looks. We saw no other solution but to turn off the lights so you can fully embrace his inner values."

Needless to say, some people didn't find this funny at all and the comments underneath the photo of the new drink got a little heated. True Fruit smoothies then addressed this in a new facebook post:

...yesterday we received some criticism concerning our bottles text on the Black Edition. Some users accused us of sexism or lookism.

They go on to say that their fans like them, even if we as people don't always share the same sense of humor or opinion. They stress that "your opinion is as valid as ours" and end with "We love our sense of humor and won't be banned. And that's a good thing, because we live happily in a society that allows us all." they also note that "no one is forced to buy our products or visit our platforms in social media".

A surprising tactic at this time, have we sauntered past the days of immediate apologies? Perhaps we finally have reached peak outrage and brands have finally remembered to zig when others zag. True Fruits Smoothies stand out not only with an oblique bottle but also their non-apologetic take-it-or-leave-it attitude that goes with it. How refreshing.

Comments (26)

  • David Felton's picture
    David Felton

    Good. It's about time brands decided to stand by their creative choices and stop profusely apologising for every little imagined offence.

    Also, can you imagine pulling all those bottles off the shelves and the cost involved? Surely a factor here.

    People will complain over every insignificant thing nowadays and I personally don't find anything wrong or offensive with this copy.

    Sincerely - ugly male friend who wants a date.

    Mar 30, 2015
  • Tom Megginson's picture
    Tom Megginson (not verified)

    Anti-"PC" marketing feels so 1990s to me. I find this cynical and tiresome rather than refreshing.

    Mar 30, 2015
  • David Felton's picture
    David Felton

    I was wondering when you'd weigh in, Mr. Megginson ;)

    Mar 30, 2015
  • Dabitch's picture
    Dabitch

    We must have lived in different 90s eras. There was no "anti-PC" marketing that I recall. There was tons of 'ironic' and self-mocking break the fourth wall advertising though. Advertising saying "I know you hate advertising so do we, aren't we cool?" Like Diesel (serial killer, love, rubber, Japanese ad), and that whole OK Soda anti-advertising advertising failure (declassified, secret code, kudzu, elevator,fiancé, OK Index, packaging). They were going after the too-cool-for-marketing market. That's a big market! Lots of dollars there , to paraphrase Bill Hicks famous anti-advertising rant. Which in itself was perfectly trendy at the time. Ironic. And Mt Dew wanted to grab the adrenaline junkies even if they were girls, while Pepsi failed really hard with their Crystal cola ad that stated "right now only nature needs preservatives", which is still quite the PC statement.

    The anti-PC brigade to me was in the 80s, the stylists and musicians, a.k.a Punks. Punks revived the swastika specifically to shock. Or like when Boy London launched with their gay self-harming skinheads art concept idea, and plastered the Parteiadler der Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei eagle as a pattern on everything, which superstars like Rihanna wear to this day. That's pretty non-PC, wearing the Nazi party symbol as a logo on your shirt.

    Mar 31, 2015
  • kidsleepy's picture
    kidsleepy

    While the copy is dumb, I'm kind of glad they didn't do a mea culpa and yank the packaging and wear a hairshirt for thirty days. If they want to be dumb, at least own it.

    I would say that a multinational corporation insisting its employees talk about race is a much more cynical tactic, as it assumes by pandering to the current topic du jour that a victory lap is in order. The fact it blew up in their face is proof positive that people are tried of being lectured to, or tired of brands taking a stand and are recognizing that being PC is as much a cynical marketing tactic as being un-PC.

    Mar 30, 2015
  • rape culture's picture
    rape culture (not verified)

    Of course, it is humor to make fun of blind persons. Of course, it is humor to make fun of fire accident survivors. Of course, it is humor to make fun of rape victims. Sexual harassment is of cource funny, because it is humor.

    A company can of course stand up for discrimination and say that we make our money that way, and our customers love us for this.

    I call that rape culture. Because the harassment and fun-making of victims are done as a company strategy. And because the company is being applauded for doing this.

    I am a rape survirvor, I have a blind friend, and I have a friend whose face has been damaged by an accident. I don't find the "humor" funny.

    Apr 01, 2015
  • m's picture
    m (not verified)

    Silly fish.

    Apr 11, 2015
  • My Thoughts Exactly's picture
    My Thoughts Exactly (not verified)

    Thank you! Not everything is fodder for companies to joke about. I think the "ugly girlfriend" is tasteless and them standing by their "joke" after realizing this is even worse. It's not about being "politically correct". It's about not offending or insulting the very people that buy your product and adding to already harmful social expectations placed on women.

    Jun 04, 2016
  • rape culture's picture
    rape culture (not verified)

    What was really offensive about the copy was that it came with a symbol for blind persons (the three dots over the caption "blind tasting").

    And what was offensive was that the company followed up with a photo of a black vibrator after some people had complained.

    What was also offensive was that the company then uploaded a new glass, that their customers make frivolous jokes and are not discouraged by porno berries.

    What was also offensive was that the company called people, who had complained "son of a berry" and sissy.

    Since I don't make rape jokes, I don't make jokes making fun of the blind, and since I don't like these "jokes", I don't belong to the customers, that they like to have. Ergo, I will not buy the smoothies any more and I guess that the company is happy about that.

    Apr 01, 2015
  • Endo's picture
    Endo (not verified)

    German here.

    "blind tasting", the word you used here to be outraged about, is in the original "Blindverkostung". While it is true that those two words blind and verkostung mean for itself blind tasting, a Blindverkostung is another thing.

    Blindverkostung is something a food chemist or food producer does to determine the quality of a food product. In this way, cheese, wine, water and other foods can be judged. A bad translation would be "Wine tasting", but Blindverkostung relates to all foods.

    It is merely a play on words, not a targeted joke on blind people. Your outrage is blindly absurd, misinformed and typical of people of your kind.

    Apr 09, 2015
  • Dabitch's picture
    Dabitch

    Dear "Rape Culture". I can't even tell whether you're earnest or part of the prankster crew to be honest, but I'll assume that the This apology video brought you here to layer on some outrage.

    "Liebe true fruits fans, my name is Nicolas Lecloux, I'm responsible for the marketing here at True Fruits" says the co-founder with a straight face. He then explains that the black bottle has caused some emotions and outrage and goes into a classic humble apology... While an apron clad & pantless dude serves him coffee in a mug that reads "The Boss".

    The clip ends with #schluckimdunkeln and a smile. Check your calenders people, it's April 1.

    Apr 01, 2015
  • rape culture's picture
    rape culture (not verified)

    I am ernest und I am outraged - or rather, I am disapponted, as I had bought their products in the past and had thought that they are a company who respect their customers and also other people. The company had also won design awards, and they always had an image for health and quality.

    And then to discover that people are not important for them, and that it was only all about making money, was disappointing. They don't care about wellbeing of blind people, survivors of sexual harassment, people who look ugly.

    Their reactions and the people who have newly become fans of the company for these "jokes" (they don't even care for smoothies) were very upsetting. I've heard these phrases all before - also in real life and also in conjunction with my rape experience. These people can'T tell me, that they just do this in internet oder that it is just a joke.

    And no, I am not really outraged about the video, for me, it was just a confirmation, that they stand for their diskrimination. Do they really think that if one also shows naked male body parts, it is not sexism anymore?

    Apr 01, 2015
  • rape culture's picture
    rape culture (not verified)

    P.S. I can't judge it myself, since I am not so familiar with pornographic phrases, but some people also find that the phrase #schluckimdunkeln has sexual connotation. In that sense, #schluckimdunkeln and smile are perceived as condescending.

    Apr 01, 2015
  • Dabitch's picture
    Dabitch

    I can see why the yellow arm bands so prolific in the 60s & 70s have been phased out, if an actual German can't remember the difference between the blind symbol and the deaf symbol. The memory-aid I used as a kid was to note that "two dots up" looked similar to a face, which means blind. The symbol with the two dots at the bottom means deaf. The three white dots on a black oblique bottle mean you have some really upset people in your facebook feeds, apparently. If you're going to read into things, at least do it right.

    Also, I think the word you're looking for regarding the hashtag #schluckimdunkeln is "innuendo", not "pornographic phrase". With the right intonation I can make a cake recipe sound dirty. Oreo's "You can still dunk in the dark" sounds naughty too, as does their Swedish tagline "vrid, slicka, doppa" (twist, lick, dip). Point being, copywankers are everywhere, and some people find it funny.

    p.s. to add to the confusion in Sweden we had five dots like this to mean blind. Five dots = b l i n d, three = d ö v (deaf).

    Apr 01, 2015
  • kidsleepy's picture
    kidsleepy

    It's almost as if you're saying people are outraged because they are mistaking one sign for another. Like...they're outraged because of their own stupidity.

    Apr 01, 2015
  • Rape Culture's picture
    Rape Culture (not verified)

    Dabitch, in Germany there is no difference. There ist just one symbol, which is regulated in the traffic law. And this symbol is only for the handicapped (not for healthy people going on a blind date or blind tasting or whatever).

    Apr 01, 2015
  • Dabitch's picture
    Dabitch

    Here's a photo of the symbol on a pedestrian traffic light in Koeln Germany. Please note the positioning of the dots. Two up, one down.

    Here are examples of advertising campaigns using the blind symbol: posters and as an armband. I know it's an Austrian campaign, but they have the dot positioning in common with nearby German speaking countries. Two up, one down.

    Here's a few places to buy the Blindenkennzeichen, for example a full set at othopoint, or the Rollatorblindenflagge. Again, please note the positioning of the dots. Two up, one down. Another shop for Verkehrsschutzarmbinden and other traffic helper items offers more discreet metal pins as well. You will find tonne of Verkehrsschutz Armbinde if you google that, and gee they all have the two dots up and one dot down. Go figure.

    Nobody here said anything about blind dates or any other form of word play when discussing the traffic symbol but I hear there's a movie theatre looking for a projectionist if you're interested.

    Bonus: stock photo of blind man crossing the road.

    Apr 02, 2015
  • rape culture's picture
    rape culture (not verified)

    If you can read German: http://www.verkehrsportal.de/fev/fev_02.php

    When a blind person does not comply with this regulation and is involved in an accident, he can be sued for damage.

    The symbol can be worn in any direction (e.g. pins).

    Apr 02, 2015
  • Dabitch's picture
    Dabitch

    Thank you, Endo. My German is not very good* but I can recognise wordplay when I see it. It seemed quite the topic-slide from commentator before, as if they were willfully not getting the nuance.

    * Dude, my German is Dutch, that's how bad it is.

    Apr 10, 2015
  • Endo's picture
    Endo (not verified)

    I kinda got enraged because of this distateful lie. Its typical for an hysterical, outraged SJW(who is appearantly german her/himself judging by the links provided), and it pissed me off, so there's that. What I have to say, though, is that "rape culture" got a thing right. "schluck im dunkeln" means literally swallow in the dark, which is, in this "funny story frame" a sexual innuendo as well as a play on words, again. Since the drink isn't pretty you'd "swallow it in the dark". But since the text also talks about ugly girls who can't get a date - its clear what they mean in the subtext.

    I'm sorry that adland didn't translate the more hilarious responses from truefruits. One read - as I recollect right now, I could do a translation for adland if they wish to (write me up in my e-mail or answer here!) - "After reading your responses and considering them - we laughed wholeheartedly since it's bullshit and you are free to not buy our products again! Thank you.".

    True fruits wasn't *polite*. They lauged in the faces of SJW, and that's why they got a new costumer, me, who actually likes companies which stick to their guns, and dont bow down if someone says "thats mean! Change it!".

    Thats character.

    Apr 11, 2015
  • ImAnAdFan's picture
    ImAnAdFan (not verified)

    ENDO please do translate some more of the replies, I only just found this story and don't speak a lick of German.

    Apr 20, 2015
  • Endo's picture
    Endo (not verified)

    Ok, ill translate some for you.

    First, the translation of the text on the bottle is accurate, yet missing of a few adjectives, which isnt important. Second, the source of the upcoming translations is " http://indyvegan.org/schluckbeschwerden/ " which is a SJW blog which complains mostly about "lookism", what is something like racism based on looks, including fat-shaming, in german SJW-circles. But enough of pretext. In the article you'll find an assorted selection of replies which is highlighted by the second vertical dash on the left hand side. Ill translate that piece by piece.

    "We received your comments and classified then as completely crackbrained pseudo moralizer bullshit and, after we laughed for a long time, decided that if we even gave a whiff of a sincere answer, we'd waste our precious vital force altogether. Thus, a short advise to all you sissys: if you don't like it, go. But please save us from your sinsong, because we absolutely like this kind of humour"

    "We are good-looking arrogant chauvinists and we dont understand your point"

    "Cry more you "Brombeersohn" (thats a play on words. The original word (Hurensohn) is an insult which means "son of a whore". They took the word Brombeer which means bramble, and added it to sohn - so that it would translate to "son of a bramble!" Which is rather cute, and not an insult.

    "We are not perfect as well and every one of us encounters jokes or statements which may leave him feel insulted, directly or indirectly. And do you know what we do or dont do if that happens? We'll tell you: We dont piss our pants and moan like a 2 year old toddler, who doesnt get a second pudding for dessert. You may as well do that, if your brain doesnt give you any other options. But please, dont cry your heart out in front of us."

    The blogger complains

    ---

    The blog intially sent out a letter containing a request for an interview. The blog posted the refusal of the request, thats the picture which looks like an e-mail. Ill translate this as well because its awesome.

    "Dear ms...

    thank you for your interview request, which we decline to do with thanks

    At this point, we'd like to tell you that we are basically of a different opinion than you and your readers*

    And this is just fine, because we fortunately live in a society, which allows everyone being of each's own opinion.

    We respect your opinions completly, but unfortunately cant comprehend them at all.

    Further discussion about this would consequently lead to nothing because neither would you nor us change our positions

    Given that we suggest that you and your readers just avoid our products as well as our social platforms

    Because with us, you'll encounter this kind of future in the future, what you dont like - but we hold dearly

    Along this lines, all the best and dear wishes from bonn"

    *=In the original, you see a star at the word "Leserinnen". German professions and descriptions of people are gendered. This means, Leser is a male consumer, while Kundin is a female consumer (Kundinnen is plural). If we dont know the gender, or want to remain neutral about it, we use the male form, because it is mostly the more simpler and easier to read form of the noun. SJW tend to write Kund_innen or Kund*innen to "respect" females in their text while also absolutely slaughtering the readibility.

    So much to that. I hope someone still reads that!

    Greetings from germany!

    Endo

    Apr 28, 2015
  • Endo's picture
    Endo (not verified)

    Leser is a male consumer, while Kundin is a female consumer (Kundinnen is plural). >>>

    Should be " Leser is a male reader, while Leserin is a female reader (Leserinnen is the plural form).

    SJW tend to write Kund_innen or Kund*innen >>>

    Leser_innen or Leser*innen

    Thats all

    Apr 28, 2015
  • Dabitch's picture
    Dabitch

    Thanks, Endo, also thanks for the Leser/Leserin Kund/Kundinnen bonus grammar class (In Swedish one can also say "läsarinnan" but will defaunt to "läsaren" when the readers gender is unknown. In Dutch a kund is a klant or klanten and default to klant when gender is unknown.) While a lot of languages still have gendered words, it often doesn't feel all that gendered when we default to the male in most, as Hollywood actresses are now called "actors" even in English.

    Apr 29, 2015

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Dabitch Creative Director, CEO, hell-raising sweetheart and editor of Adland. Globetrotting Swede who has lived and worked in New York, London, San Francisco, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Stockholm.