Sunday, December 13, 2009

Unusual Soda Can

I found this can of soda at one of the local discount stores. It is bottled by an American company in Miami, Florida that produces beverages that are popular among Cuban Americans, such as Materva. The scene depicted on one side of the can could possibly bruise some American sensibilities. Even, I was a little shocked.

Click image or here to download 1024x768 size version of this image.

I think most Americans will know why I think this can is unusual, especially considering that this softdrink is produced and sold in The United States by an American company, in Florida of all places.

To the company's credit, though, they are not exclusive. Here's the other side of the same can.

Click image or here to download 1024x768 size version of this image.

I'll bet a dollar that the first image was originally the only image on the can.

This article is duplicated on the following websites.
Fayetteville Freethinkers
The Atheist Nexus
Godless Gourmet

EDIT: A google search for, "watermelon soda black," turned up a YouTube video showing the mild outcry that this product produced.


CybrgnX said...

I see nothing wrong here. The dark skinned people that came from the islands to Florida have the ads on the cans done to their liking. Americans get really extreme with their PC schite. What because a bunch of bigots in the US ridiculed blacks or other dark skin people with watermelons does not mean they do not like it.
You could just as easily say having the white kid on the can is raciest. It shows a boy and girl enjoying watermelon, lets get over it.

Robert Madewell said...

CybrgnX, Point to the place in my article where I said there was something morally wrong with the packaging. This article was intended to be a commentary. When writing it, I tried to be non-judgmental. I don't think I said anything about intentional stereotyping.

You're right! Americans are often overly sensitive about stereotypes. When I saw that can, the first thought I had was, "Whoa! How did they get away with doing that?"

I am an American and I know the response that something like that can cause. Considering that this is an American product sold in The United States, it shows some pretty bad marketing skills. Even if the intention was to depict a dark skinned islander girl, the American public will see a black girl eating watermelon and many will come to the conclusion that it is racist. If you don't believe me, watch the video.

When you are trying to sell a product to a certain nationality, you should consider the sensibilities of that nation's people. Failure to do so will result in the failure to sell your product. Plain and simple. Target removed every can of this product from its shelves, because of the public outcry. I bought the can from a store that is run by a distributor for the purpose of selling their returned and re-shelved merchandise. I bought it for $0.15. Obviously, it was being sold either at cost or at a loss, just to get rid of it.

If the can depicted just a watermelon, than their would have been no outcry whatsoever. I am sure of it. I see no need for the package to depict a person at all. I doubt that that would have any noticeable effect on sales. It is very bad marketing and I am sure that Cawy lost money on this product.

It's not about whether it was right or not to depict a dark-skinned girl eating a watermelon. It's about how smart it was to do that on the American market.

CybrgnX said...

Yes I agree with you Robert in that we are over sensitized the black stereotype and that the product would do better without either kid on the label. And the stigmata of the racism is still very visible so the soda company will continue to loose sales till they change the label. The video reflects the come reactions, if it was me I may not have even noted as all I care about is cost and flavor.
I like your posts and site.

Robert Madewell said...

Thank you, CybrgnX, for reading and commenting. I take it as a compliment when someone comments on my blog posts. If shows that my writing has inspired thought and dialog, whether or not the commentors agree with me or not. That's why I write this blog.