Are these ads racist? Some think so. The use of Barack Obama visage has become a marketing hit in Russia, generating cries of racism. The charges relate to three ads featuring Obama. The Times of India reports:
Obama ice cream, anyone? Chocolate-vanilla ice cream is one of several Russian products being marketed using America’s first black president, even as critics call the ads racist.
Other ads featuring US President Barack Obama have promoted tanning salons and tooth-whitening services.
But the creator of one Obama-themed ad — for ice cream bars which have a chocolate-flavoured centre embedded in a layer of vanilla — insisted Friday that it was not racist and should be seen as a joke.
The ad for Duet ice cream bars features a smiling, cartoonish black man flashing a V-for-Victory sign in front of the white edifice of Washington’s Capitol building, along with the Russian slogan: “Everyone’s talking about it: dark inside white!”
Some blasted the ad as insensitive after it surfaced on English-language websites this week. “This is just racist,” said one visitor to the Ads of the World website, while another asked: “Is the ice cream as tasteless as the ad?”
Andrei Gubaidullin, who created the ad, said it was not racist and that Russia simply had a different attitude to race than Western countries.
“For Russia, this is not racist. It is fun and that’s it,” said Gubaidullin, creative director at Voskhod advertising agency, based in the Urals Mountains city of Yekaterinburg.
“We don’t consider teasing ethnic groups racist. It is just seen as a joke,” he said by telephone, adding that he personally liked Obama.