Mio Commercial Racist?

The first time I watched this advertisement I wasn’t exactly sure what I was getting into. As it progressed I thought it was just another typical commercial, and nothing was really standing out to me. Then the ending happened.
The commercial opens with two typical Caucasian male businessmen. The first character squirts a few drops of Mio into his drink and turns into a prestigious looking Caucasian male. As he sips the drink he continues to change characters. Next, he turns into a Caucasian male pilot. Then the coworker tries some Mio in his drink. The first character changes again, this time into a Caucasian male wearing a ship captains hat along with a robe, and the coworker changes into a Caucasian tennis player. For the final change the first character changes into an African American cowboy, and the coworker changes into an old Caucasian woman.
I feel that this commercial would appear less racist if there were more ethnicities used throughout the changing characters. The company added gender variety by using an old woman at the end, but still she was also Caucasian so there was no ethnic diversity. In addition to all of that, there is a well known stereotypical relationship associated between “purple drink” and the African American character, so maybe to avoid racist feedback the company should have picked a different color of Mio for the commercial. I also thought it was interesting that they dressed the African American character as a cowboy because it was like they were trying to connect the first character shown to this character since cowboys are typically thought of or portrayed as Caucasian. I also feel that this company had to know what they were doing when they published this commercial. There is no way a room full of editors sat around watching this video and did not for once think that this advertisement might possibly be conveyed as a racist gesture. I do not usually drink Mio, but I have tried it before when I was in the military because sometimes it was nice to have a little flavor in my water. I never thought it was that great but it got me by. If I was a regular consumer of this product though, I would definitely be put off even more by this commercial and think differently of the company and brand, along with their core values and standards.
I feel this commercial loses it’s effectiveness due to the situation and is kind of a fail.
Has Mio crossed the line with this advertisement? Is it racist? Or is the viewer wrong for connecting stereotypes portrayed to racism? Is this advertisement ethical?

References 

“Mio Changes Commercial Squirt Some” YouTube. YouTube, n.d Web. 25 Sept. 2014. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1XmkcT1-Bv0

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2 thoughts on “Mio Commercial Racist?

  1. I appreciate your post but do not feel that this commercial is racist. I think that while it could use some more diversity, positing that the color purple is related to ‘purple drink’ is related to african americans is four times removed from the intended meaning. I think that this commercial has a purpose, to show that your character can ‘change’ by drinking this beverage. It is light hearted and funny. Still, it is interesting to see how varying people receive commercials. I wonder what demographics this commercial was most successful with?

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  2. I don’t think it’s racist at all. It’s just a creative commercial about diversity caused by the product. Sometimes people think it’s racist only because it’s the reflection of their inner thoughts or life experiences. We really need to be open about it otherwise not talking about our differences won’t help either.

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