Being a redhead or ginger can be an unforgiving existence at the best of times.
The constant butt of jokes among friends happy to crack gags about ginger pubes and unfavourable comparisons with celebrity gingers like Ed Sheeran, it’s fair to say redheads get enough stick as it is.
However, the folk over at Australian beer company Carlton & United Breweries evidently feel different. Which is why they have gone in for the kill with the controversial new ad for their latest brew.
Eager to promote their new Rusty Yak Gingery Ale, the company decided to drill down on the ginger aspect of that particular recipe with contentious results.
The resulting commercial has landed them in hot water with ginger folk and it’s not hard to see why.
In the ad, a narrator explains how the company has discovered the ginger gene.
“Floating around in our beer, just like it’s been floating around in human DNA, surprising families for generations,” he explains, with the commercial cutting to the sight of a couple holding a baby with visibly red hair.
Things are then cranked up another notch, with the ad calling on customers to “stop the spread of the gene” by searching inside six packs of beer for hidden bottles marked with a special label, or something like that.
But what started out as a supposedly “fun” marketing campaign to help drinkers win some cash has since come under fire for its insensitive portrait of ginger-dom. So much so, in fact, that some have even complained about the clip.
According to Australian media news site Mumbrella the Australian Advertising Standards board has been floaded with complaints.
“It’s very offensive for the advertisement to be discriminating against those with red hair, suggesting that they need to ‘stop the gene spreading’ as if it were some sort of disease,” one read.
“Children already get bullied at school for having red hair, and advertisements like this only further encourage that type of bullying.”
The board concurred, stating that “the phrase ‘stop the spread of the gene’ overstepped the line between being light-hearted humour and made a strong suggestion that an identifiable group of the population was to be considered unpopular.”
As a result, CUB has been forced to pull the advert from television – is everyone overreacting though? Watch the clip above and decide for yourself.