Japanese TV ad retreats after accusations of racism

They really didn't mean to be racist they say, but cosmetics maker Mandom Corp realise how bad their ad might look to some and have decided to pull it off the air.
In the ad for men's blotting paper, several black people wipe the sweat off their faces with the paper, while a chimpanzee beside them wearing an Afro wig and a multicoloured outfit wipes his face in imitation.

"A human rights group criticised it after it began airing March 28, saying it was comparing black people with monkeys." said the Japan Times Online.

Immediately afterword a primates rights group accused the Human rights group of not knowing a great ape from a monkey if it bit them in the arse. No, I'm joking, but I would have loved that.


Mandom consulted with their ad agency and lawyers and decided to pull the ad because it "lacked an international sense of ethics."
"We are very sorry. We apologise to viewers and other people who felt offended," said Motonobu Nishimura, a company executive.

No word yet of when they are going to apologise for that giggle-worthy company name.
(Footnote: "mandom" is a in Swedish "manhood"... as in polite euphemism for the one-eyed snake.)

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kurtberengeiger's picture

"an international sense of ethics"? So does that mean that this kind of comparison is ok in mainstream Japan?
I've just gotta see this. Please... somebody... link it.

Dabitch's picture

Depends on how it's done I guess - the afro probably nailed them. Was it meant as a comparison or is that how the human rights org decided to interpret it? I've seen plenty of ads where chimps copy humans, and humans copy chimps, it's classic funny monkey-see monkey-do. 'cept chimps ain't monkeys.

For example, the Verizon can you hear me now ad with the chimp talking on his mobile banana.
Verizon - Chimps (2003) - 0:30 (USA)

kurtberengeiger's picture

Yep. After the Nogger Black discussion I admit that my trust in the credibility of certain self-proclaimed "human rights" groups has somewhat diminished. But the description of the spot given by The Japan Times doesn't seem to leave much open for the imagination. Then again, the newspaper

Dabitch's picture

Yeah I'd love to see it as well. Might be good for a laugh, like surreal Japanese ads usually are. ;)

Dabitch's picture

Robblink found this poster.
And yikes is all I have to say. Plus someone should teach that reporter the difference between dreadlocks and afros in addition to great apes and monkeys.

anothercopywriter's picture

I wonder if men's blotting paper is heavily advertised in Japan. And if so, what does that say about the culture.

skip's picture

Ask and it shall be delivered: 30 second spot (The Community)

Robblink's picture

The commercial can be viewed here:


kurtberengeiger's picture

Om my Jah... I and I am blown away man... Thanks for the links skip.

AnonymousCoward's picture

Oh my, yeah, I'm sure there was no racist intention at all. LOL.


deeped's picture

I get strange signs instead of a film...

Dabitch's picture

Robblink posted a link to the Quicktime film that is here (on Adland) instead earlier (further down as the comment was arranged by this sneaky "reply" to feature.) http://adland.tv/121254.php.

AnonymousCoward's picture

Well, in Japan it is normal for men to be very feminine. As a matter of fact, many male Japanese rock stars are often confused to be women by Americans (Europeans too I bet). I always get, "Whos the chick in the picture?" And I am like, thats a guy.... And then they automatically assume them to be gay, which they are not. Their culture is quite different from ours, indeed.

AnonymousCoward's picture

Turn on the AC for cryin out loud