Dunkin’ Donuts Blackface Campaign in Thailand

    September 1, 2013

Dunkin’ Donuts has issued an apology for being “insensitive” during their recent advertising campaign in Thailand.

The advertisement shows a woman with her face painted black and bright pink lipstick holding a half eaten “charcoal doughnut”. The slogan reads “Break every rule of deliciousness.”

The Thailand CEO, Nadim Salhani, originally defended the campaign saying the outrage was just “paranoid American thinking”. “It’s absolutely ridiculous,” he continued. “We’re not allowed to use black to promote our doughnuts? I don’t get it. What’s the big fuss? What if the product was white and I painted someone white, would that be racist?” Hours later Dunkin’ Donuts headquarters issued an apology for the “insensitivity” of the campaign.

“It’s both bizarre and racist that Dunkin’ Donuts thinks that it must color a woman’s skin black and accentuate her lips with bright pink lipstick to sell a chocolate doughnut,” said Phil Robertson, who is the deputy Asia director for Human Rights Watch. “Dunkin’ Donuts should immediately withdraw this ad, publicly apologize to those it’s offended and ensure this never happens again.”

The Thailand franchise of Dunkin’ Donuts is operated independently of the American franchise, and Salhani says that doughnut sales have increased aproximately 50 percent since the start of the campaign two weeks ago. “Not everybody in the world is paranoid about racism,” said Salhani. “I’m sorry, but this is a marketing campaign, and it’s working very well for us.” Saljani says that he used his own daughter as the model for the campaign.

Image via Twitter